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The Fifth Century b.c. 

Edited by 

D. M. LEWIS f.b.a. 

Professor of Ancient History in the University of Oxford 


Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology and Art in the University of Oxford 

J. K. DAVIES f.b.a. 

R athbone Professor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology in the University of Liverpool 


William R. Kenan, Jr, Professor of Classics, Swarthmore College 
and Professor of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania 



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© Cambridge University Press 1992 

This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception 
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, 
no reproduction of any pan may take place without 
the written permission of Cambridge University Press. 

First published 1992 
Fifth printing 2006 

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge 
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library 
Library of Congress Card no. 75-85719 

isbn o 521 23347 x (hardback) 


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List of maps page ix 

List of text-figures x 

Preface xiii 

1 Sources, chronology, method i 

by d. m. lewis, Professor of Ancient History in the University of 


2 Greece after the Persian Wars 1 5 

by ]. k. Davies, Rath bone Professor of Ancient History and Classical 
Archaeology in the University of Liverpool 

3 The Delian League to 449 b.c. 34 

by p. j. Rhodes, Professor of Ancient History in the University of 

I The foundation of the League 54 

11 The early history of the League 40 

hi The ambitions of the Athenian democrats 49 

iv The mid-century crisis 54 

4 The Athenian revolution 62 

by P. J. RHODES 

i Athens after the Persian Wars 62 

II The reform of the Areopagus 67 

hi Periclean democracy 77 

iv The impact of Athenian democracy 87 

5 Mainland Greece, 479-45 1 b . c . 96 

by D. M. LEWIS 

i From 479 to 461 96 

11 The ‘First Peloponnesian War’ 1 1 1 

6 The Thirty Years’ Peace 121 

by D. M. LEWIS 

i The Peace of Callias 1 2 1 


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ii The empire established 127 

in 446 b.c. 1 53 

iv After the Peace 138 

7 Sicily, 478— 43 1 b.c. 147 

by d. asheri. Professor of Ancient History, The Hebrew University of 

I Sicily in the age of Hiero 149 

II The fall of the .tyrannies 1 54 

hi The Sicel movement 161 

iv Democracy and culture at Syracuse and Acragas 165 

8 Greek culture, religion and society in the fifth century b.c. 

8 a Art: Archaic to Classical 171 

by j. J. pollitt. Professor of Classical Archaeology and History of 
Art, Yale University 

I Style and iconology 17 1 

II Artists and patrons 180 

8 b Classical cities and sanctuaries 184 

by the late r. e. Wycherley, formerly Professor of Greek, University 
College of North Wales, Bangor 

8r Rebuilding in Athens and Attica 206 

by the late r. e. Wycherley 

8 d Panhellenic cults and panhellenic poets 223 

by n. j. Richardson, Fellow of Merton College, Oxford 

1 The panhellenic festivals in the fifth century b.c. 223 

11 The religious character of the games 226 

in The order and development of the festivals 229 

iv The athletes: background and careers 232 

v Poets and patrons 237 

vi The poems 239 

vii Aftermath 243 

8e Athenian cults and festivals 245 

by Walter burkert, Professor of Classical Philology, University of 

1 Continuity and change 245 

11 Note on the sources 248 

in The cycle of the year 249 

iv Polis religion: cults defining identity 256 

v Divination 262 

vi The Mysteries 264 

vn Private piety 265 

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8 f Athenian religion and literature 268 

by b. m. w. knox, formerly Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, 

1 Introduction 268 

11 Tragedy 272 

in Comedy 282 

8^ Society and economy 287 

by J. K. DAVIES 

8/> Athens as a cultural centre 306 

by M. OSTwald, William R. Kenan, Jr, Professor of Classics, 

Swarthmore College, and Professor of Classical Studies, University of 

1 The economic and social background 306 

11 Religion and empire 3 1 2 

hi The visual arts 314 

iv Literature 323 

v Philosophy, rhetoric and science 338 

vi The impact on Athens 35 1 

9 The Archidamian War 370 

by D. M. lewis 

1 The causes of the war 570 

11 War 380 

10 The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition 433 

by the late A . andrewes , formerly Wykeham Professor of Ancient 
History in the University of Oxford 

1 The failure of the Peace 433 

n Mantinea and the aftermath 437 

hi Athenian policy and politics 440 

iv Melos 444 

v Sicily: the first phase 446 

vi Sicily: Gylippus and the turn of the tide 453 

vii Sicily: the final disaster 460 

1 1 The Spartan resurgence 464 

by the late a. andrewes 

1 War in Ionia and Persian intervention 464 

11 The beginnings of the Athenian revolution 471 

hi The Four Hundred 474 

iv The Five Thousand replace the Four Hundred 479 

v The Hellespont campaigns and the return of Alcibiades 481 

vi Lysander and the collapse of Athens 489 

vii Epilogue 496 

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Chronological notes 499 

Chronological table 506 


Abbreviations page 5 1 4 

A General 5 1 8 

B Chronology 522 

C Sources 523 

I Historiography 523 

II Inscriptions 527 

in Coinage 530 

D Athens: internal affairs 5 3 1 

E The Athenian empire 5 3 5 

F The Greek states 539 

G The Peloponnesian War 541 

H Sicily 543 

1 General 543 

11 Hiero and Theron 544 

hi Fall of tyrannies, constitutional history 544 

iv Sicel movement 545 

v Syracuse and Tyrrhenian affairs 546 

vi Coinage 546 

I Art and architecture 547 

J Literature and philosophy 554 

K Religion and festivals 5 5 7 

L Society and economy 561 

Index 5 67 

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1 Greece and Western Asia Minor page 2—3 

2 Central Greece and the Peloponnese 98 

3 Sicily 148 

4 Western Asia Minor and the Hellespont 466 


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1 Fragment of an Athenian decree ( IG i 3 68 = M-L 68) concerning 

tribute, with a relief showing tribute bags and vessels page 5 5 

2 Silver coin of the Arcadian League 106 

3 Layout of Athenian tribute-list stela I 124 

4 Silver coins of Sybaris and Thurii 142 

5 Silver coin of Amisus, renamed Piraeus 146 

6 Bronze helmet of Etruscan type dedicated by Hiero at Olympia 1 52 

7 Silver coins of Himera and Aitna 1 56 

8 Silver litra of Camarina 158 

9 Silver tetradrachms of Messana, Zancle and Selinus 160 

10 Silver decadrachms of Syracuse 168 

11 Silver tetradrachm of Acragas 169 

t2 Plan of the fifth-century sanctuary of Aphaea on Aegina 188 

13 Temple of Zeus at Olympia 189 

14 Temple of Zeus Olympius at Acragas 190 

15 Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae 192 

16 Corinthian capital from the temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae, 

restored 193 

17 Plan of the sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, fifth century b.c. 194 

18 Plan of the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, early fifth century b.c^. 194 

19 Athens, the theatre of Dionysus and Odeum, late fifth century b.c. 197 

20 Houses at Olynthus, fourth century b.c. 199 

21 Reconstructions of the Attic farmhouses beside the Dema wall (a), 

and at Vari ( b ), by J. E. Jones 201 

22 Houses west of the Areopagus at Athens 202 

23 Plan of Classical Rhodes 204 

24 Athens in the late fifth century b.c. 207 

25 Athens, Piraeus and the Long Walls 208 

26 Sanctuary of Artemis Aristoboule, Athens 210 

27 Plan of the Athenian Agora at the end of the fifth century b.c. 212 

28 The ‘Prison of Socrates’, south west of the Agora, Athens, 

reconstruction by J. E. Jones 214 

29 Restoration of the fafade of the Stoa of Zeus, Athens 21 5 

30 Plan of the Acropolis, Athens 216 

31 The temple by the Ilissus at Athens 219 


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32 Festival at a pillar image of Dionysus from an Attic red-figure 

stamnos by the Dinos Painter, about 420 B.C. 253 

33 Attic red-figure chous, late fifth century b.c. 254 

34 Kratenskos from Brauron 257 

3 5 Lead puppet in a box, from the Ceramicus cemetery, Athens 267 

36 Satyr player from an Attic red-figure cup by Makron, about 490 

b . c . 271 

37 Clay figure of a comic actor 283 

38 Plan of Pylos— Sphacteria 415 

39 Bronze shield captured from the Spartans by the Athenians at 

Pylos and dedicated in the Stoa Poikile at Athens 419 

40 Plan of Syracuse 454 

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This volume is unlike any which has preceded it. Earlier volumes have 
covered the whole of the Mediterranean and Near East. We hardly stray 
beyond Greece, deferring developments elsewhere to Volume vi. We are 
thus stressing that this is a period when, for the first and last time before 
the Romans, great political and military power on the one hand and 
cultural importance on the other, including the presence of historians to 
describe that power, are located in the same place. By contrast, Persia and 
the empires which preceded it were powerful but not articulate; the Jews 
were articulate but not powerful. This gives the volume a coherence 
which its predecessors and immediate successors lack. 

Some of the coherence arises from the nature of our sources, which 
make an Athenian standpoint hard to avoid. That point was noticed by 
Sallust in the first century b.c.: 

As I reckon it, the actions of the Athenians were indeed vast and magnificent, 
but rather less substantial than report makes them. But because writers of genius 
grew up there, Athenian deeds are renowned as the greatest throughout the 
world. The talent of those who did them is judged by the powers of praise of 
these outstanding literary geniuses. (Bell. Cat. 8.2-4) 

In this volume we shift Sallust’s emphasis, and regard the efflores- 
cence of literature (and art) as itself a major historical phenomenon to be 
examined and explained. Much of the cultural achievement survives, for 
us to assess by our own criteria. Fluctuations in the reputation of 
individuals and of styles will continue, but they are not likely to diminish 
the position of the fifth century, particularly at Athens, as the first Classic 
age of European civilization, important not only for its own achieve- 
ments, but for the power of those achievements to influence later 
generations and take new forms in their hands. Even if the events of the 
period had no intrinsic interest, they would still be precious for our 
understanding of the cultural heritage. 

The events themselves certainly do have great intrinsic interest. The 
transformation of the Delian League, created to continue the Greek fight 
against Persia, into an empire run in the interests of Athens, is a textbook 


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case in the history of imperialism. The development of Athenian 
democracy, the beginnings of which we saw in the last volume, into an 
experiment in direct government by a largish citizen body, produced 
political concepts and political thinking which have remained of 
permanent importance. That the volume ends with the collapse of both 
the empire and the democracy raises perennial questions about the 
reconciliation of political justice and political efficiency. These themes 
are visible in many of our sources, but were most notably transmitted 
and interpreted by Thucydides, one of the most gifted historians of any 
age: it should be added that perhaps his most remarkable achievement 
was to transmute even military narrative into a commentary on the 
human condition. 

On the international plane, events were shaped by the break, at first 
gradual, which split the victorious Greek allies of 480—79. There were 
always those, at both Athens and Sparta, whose ideal was continued 
collaboration; but events were too strong for them, and our concept of 
the century is shaped by the polarity between the Spartan alliance, land- 
based, with a fairly narrow and specialized governing group at its centre, 
and the Athenian empire, largely maritime and with a democracy at its 
centre. Various later generations have found contemporary resonances 
which have encouraged them to perpetuate the concept of this polarity. 
The different nature of the power-bases certainly did much to shape the 
course of the eventual struggle of the Peloponnesian War. 

Some of the factors which made the cultural achievement possible are 
clear. First, success in the Persian Wars was itself a heroic achievement, 
which provided new epic themes and the impulse to celebrate them. 
Secondly, as Athens became more important politically, it became more 
likely to attract individuals who might find it a more stimulating 
environment than their own cities. This was a cumulative process and 
must have developed existing talent. Thirdly, the economic gains of 
empire (not simply the tribute paid by the allies, important though that 
was) made projects possible for the Athenians which had hitherto been 
peculiar to kings and tyrants. Why the Athenian citizen-body itself 
commanded a gene-pool of such potentiality is beyond us. 

Though Athens dominates our sources for this volume, it is neverthe- 
less called ‘The Fifth Century’ instead of the ‘Athens’ of the first edition. 
But we have tried not to draw too sharp a line between Archaic and 
Classical Greece; and there is a sense in which the last decade of our 
period, with a weakened Athens and a renascent Persia, looks forward to 
the shape of the fourth century. The more general title reflects the fact 
that the story of the fifth century is not just an Athenian story. Even at 
the cultural level, the temple of Zeus at Olympia had emerged, some 
years earlier than the Parthenon, from a separate and different set of 

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social and political circumstances. The great sanctuaries continued to 
follow their own individual lines of development, and their festivals 
created forms of literature not found at Athens. Developments in the 
many minor Greek states were influenced by emulation of their larger 
neighbours. Models of comfort and society elsewhere stimulated urban 
development in more backward areas. Smaller communities saw the 
advantages of combining into bigger ones, for example, Olynthus in 43 2 
and Rhodes in 408. Exiles and migrants from long-established states 
took their ideas of the good life to foundations like Thurii and 
Amphipolis or areas like Macedon where urbanism did not exist. 

This presupposed the polis as the Greek way of life. There were other 
forms of political development, but they are harder to trace during our 
period. Gelon’s creation of an extended Syracuse collapsed. Successive 
kings of Macedon struggled to preserve and centralize their kingdom; 
they too used urbanization as one of their principal tools. The Athenians, 
who had exploited ties of racial relationship with their allies when they 
created the Delian League, nevertheless did not use them to break down 
citizenship barriers between one polis and another. Athenian citizenship 
became more, not less, restricted during our period. Pericles boasted of 
the advantages of equal opportunity for citizens at home, but neither he 
nor the Athenian people saw merit in extending it further. Cleon may 
have been right to say that democracy could not rule an empire. This 
volume closes in uncertainty as to whether the Spartan oligarchy would 
be more successful. 

The framework of this volume is different from that of the first 
edition. We have been more explicit on questions of historical method. 
We have tried to achieve closer integration of Athenian external and 
internal history. Separate chapters on drama, philosophy, historiogra- 
phy and art have been replaced by an attempt to show the cultural 
achievements in their historical, social and religious contexts. The 
bibliographies in such intensely cultivated fields can make no real 
attempt at completeness and mostly represent work directly referred to 
by our contributors; we have slightly amplified the form of reference to 
them used in previous volumes. We continue our practice of including a 
map reference after a name in the index, instead of compiling a separate 
index of names for each map. 

The volume has been long in preparation, and scrutiny of our 
attempts to keep it up to date may well reveal unavoidable inconsisten- 
cies. Of our contributors. Professor A. Andrewes, who gave sage 
counsel in the planning stage and thereafter, and Professor R. E. 
Wycherley have not lived to see the completed volume; these are 
personal losses as well as losses to scholarship. 

We are grateful to Simon Hornblower for help in the closing stages of 

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xvi preface 

preparation, and for the patience, skill and care with which we have been 
tended by the staff of the Cambridge University Press, in particular by 
Pauline Hire. Professor Rhodes wishes to thank Dr O. P. T. K. 
Dickinson, and, for financial assistance, the University of Durham. Text 
illustrations, when not derived from a stated source, have been prepared 
by Marion Cox. Fuller illustration will appear in the Plates Volume 
which is intended to accompany both Volume v and the forthcoming 
Volume vi. The maps have been drawn by Euromap Ltd; the index was 
compiled by Barbara Hird. 

D. M. L. 

J. K. D. 
M. O. 


Works cited in the various sections of the Bibliography are referred to in 
footnotes by author and date, followed by the appropriate section letter, the 
number assigned to the work in that section, the volume number, page 
references etc. Thus Pritchett 1965 (a too) 1 5 is a reference to p. 5 of vol. 1 of 
W. K. Pritchett’s Studies in Ancient Greek Topography - no. too of Bibliography A: 

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As far as source material is concerned, the period covered by this volume 
falls, for the writer of political history, into three sections, which present 
sharply contrasting problems of method. 1 For the period from 435 to 41 1 
b.c. Thucydides provides a firm framework. For the period from 478 to 
43 5, he gives us some relatively full narrative on special points and a 
sketchy narrative from 477 to 440; the only connected narrative of any 
size is that by Diodorus Siculus. For 41 1 to 404 we have two connected 
narratives, by Xenophon and Diodorus. 

Thucydides, 2 son of Olorus of the deme Halimous, born perhaps 
about 460, was related in some way to Cimon and to Thucydides son of 
Melesias. 3 Like Cimon, he had Thracian connexions, as is indicated by 
his father’s name (cf. Hdt. vi.39.3) and his own statement (iv.105.1) that 
he had possessions in the gold mines east of the river Strymon which 
gave him great influence with the mainlanders of that area. Of his early 
life we know nothing, but can readily infer his total immersion in the 
intellectual excitement which the sophists were bringing to Athens. 4 His 
military career begins and ends for us with his tenure of the generalship 
in 424/3 (p. 427 below). After his failure at Amphipolis he was in exile 
from Athens for twenty years (v.26.5), and this gave him the opportunity 
to watch events, not less from the Peloponnesian side; he says nothing of 
his ability to watch Athens. His intention of writing a history of the 
Peloponnesian War had in some sense been formed from its beginning in 
431 (1.1.1). How long he lived after 404, we have no means of telling. 5 

Our manuscripts call his book Historiai; there is no reason to think 
that this, ‘Investigations’, would have been his title for what he probably 
thought of as his xjrtgraphe or xjngramma, ‘Composition’. They divide it 
into eight books (a division into thirteen books was also current in 
antiquity). Of these, Book 1 is introductory and carries the story down to 

1 For most of the topics covered in this chapter, see also Gomme, biCT Introduction. 

2 On Thucydides in general see Luschnat 1971 (c 68), Dover 1975 (c 27), Hornblower 1987 (c 

52). 3 Cavaignac 1929 (d i j); Wade-Gery 1958 (a 121) 246-7; Davies 1971 (l 27) 2$ $- 6 . 

4 Finley 1942 (c 30) 36-75, and see pp. 359-62 below; cf. e.g. Macleod 1983 (a 82) 54-6, 125-31. 

5 It has been argued by Pouilloux and Salviat 1983 (c 79) that he was still writing Book vm after 
596; I do not accept their evidence (see also Cartledge 1984 (pm) and p. 44 n. 36). 


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the period immediately before the outbreak of war in 43 1 . The remaining 
books are organized by war-years, each divided into a summer and a 
winter. This distinguishes the work sharply from that of Herodotus, 
which has no open chronological scheme, less sharply from that of other 
contemporary writers (he has at least Hellanicus in mind), who arranged 
by other types of year, by Athenian archons or by the year of the current 
priestess of Hera at Argos (v. 19.2, cf. n.2.1). Such arrangements he 
thought imprecise (v. 19.3, cf. 1.97.2); how great a degree of precision is 
to be attributed to the beginning and end of his seasons is disputed. 

There is general agreement that Book vm, which breaks off in mid- 
sentence in late summer 41 1, represents a fairly early stage of compo- 
sition; parallel narratives, sometimes hardly more than extended notes, 
stand side by side without close correlation, and there are no speeches 
worked up into direct speech; there is no reason to think that what we 
have was written at all long after the events described. 6 Book v, from 
chapter 27 to its end, also has no speeches, apart from the Melian 
Dialogue (v.8 5 — 1 13; see pp. 445-6), but, apart from this, what has 
appeared incompleteness may be in some part due to the nature of the 
subject matter. 7 For the rest of the work arguments tend to be subjective. 
There are passages, notably 11.65. 12, VL15.3— 4, which were certainly 
written in or after 404, but there is no means of telling how much 
continuous attention Thucydides gave to his manuscript or whether his 
criteria of incompleteness would have been the same as ours. 8 

The introductory chapters of Book 1, intended in form to demonstrate 
the greatness of the Peloponnesian War, give by the way a history of 
early Greece, and carry an ever-growing weight of observation on 
historical method. There are limitations, we are told (1.21), on the 
amount of truth which can be asserted about the past; 1.22 passes to the 
limitations of his work on the war. Speeches were hard to remember in 
detail both by him and by his informants, and there will be some 
subjectivity (ous S’ av iSoxovv ep.01 eKaoronrepl tu>v aielvapovTuiv ra. 
Seovra p-dAior’ elireiv, ‘as I thought the several individuals or groups would 
have said what they had to say about the situation’); that point is at least 
clear, whatever the nuances of the qualifications; 9 correspondingly the 
speeches in the work are normally introduced and concluded with 
indefinite pronouns (e.g. ol p.ev KepKvpaioi eAe£av roiaSe (1.31.4) . . . 

6 For all this see Andrewes, HCT v, including pp. 4, 369-75, for arguments about the date of 
writing, ignored by Pouilloux and Salviat (above, n. 5). But see Connor 1984 (c 22) 217-21 (hardly 

7 Andrewes, HCT iv 63, Connor 1984 (c 22) 44-7, but see Andrewes, HCT v 375-9. 

8 See Andrewes, HCT v 363, 400-5. 

9 For discussions of what Thucydides is saying here and his actual practice in speech- writing (not 
necessarily the same thing), see: Gomme 1937 (a 49) 156-9 and HCT 1 146-8; Andrewes 1962 (c 5) 
64-71; de Ste Croix 1972 (G36) 7-16; Stadter, ed. 1973 (c 95); Andrewes, HCT v 393-9; Macleod 
1983 (a 82) 52—3, 68—70; Hornblower 1987 (c 52) 45-72. 

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TotavTa pev ol Kepxvpa tot einov (1.36.4)), by contrast with the definite 
pronouns which introduce and conclude documents (e.g. iv.117.3, 
1 19.3; v.17.2, 20.1). The subjectivity allowed for speeches is explicitly 
renounced for facts: 

as for the events of what was done in the war, I did not think it right to write 
them on the basis of eyewitness reports or my own opinion [088’ toy epol iSoxet 
responding to 8’ av iSoxovv epol above], but by checking every detail as 
carefully as possible, both where I was present and when I heard from others. 
Investigation was laborious, because those present at each event did not say the 
same things about the same event, but were influenced by their partisanship or 

Only very occasionally does Thucydides underline uncertainty about 
facts, but for the battle of Mantinea in 418, where he has occasion to 
report a difficulty about finding out the truth (v.68.2), the indefinite 
pronoun of uncertainty recurs (v.79.1 xat rj pev payr) toiclvtt) xal on 
eyyvTara tovtojv eyeve to, ‘and the battle happened in such a way , as near as 
possible to this’). 

Thucydides’ high competence and devotion to truth are not to be 
doubted, and we can place much greater reliance on what he gives us for 
the years 43 5-41 1 than on our materials for most other periods of ancient 
history. 10 The difficulty here lies in our dependence on what he gives us. 
This is a great deal, but he has assimilated his source material and 
concealed his workings. On the other hand, there has inevitably been 
selectivity, and we should not expect to be told everything that 
happened. Sometimes there is warning, as, for example, when all the 
Athenian invasions of the Megarid from 431 to 424 are disposed of in 
advance (11.3 1.3), not to be recalled until they are again relevant (iv.66.1, 
slightly discrepant). Sometimes there is not, and we are left to wonder, 
for example, whether there were indeed only three tribute-collecting 
expeditions during the Archidamian War (11.69.1, in. 1 9, iv.50.1), or 
whether it is not rather the case that these were regular annual events (cf. 
Arist. Ath.Pol. 24.3) which Thucydides only reports when something of 
interest occurred. These possibilities on the plane of simple military 
operations turn into certainties when we contemplate the more political 
developments which he chose to describe in general terms or to indicate 
by a brief statement about hostility between individuals (e.g. iv.27.5, 
vi. 1 5 .2) when it seemed relevant. Nothing is said of the personal stories 
about Pericles’ political difficulties in the years before the war, even 
though they were already current in the fifth century. The ostracism of 
Hyperbolus (below, p. 442), which must have started as a major political 
event, is not reported in its place. That Thucydides does not report an 

10 For a recent investigation of why we feel this, see Connor 1985 (c 23). 

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event is not a reason for believing that it did not happen, and, if our 
interests take us that way, we have a duty to try to fill the gaps. But when 
he does report an event, it is only at our peril that we try to reinterpret it 
and it will seldom be good method to do so. 

These considerations are valid to an even greater degree for the period 
479-435. The formal narrative of this period (1.89-118) is set in the 
framework of the decision of the Spartan Assembly in 432 that the 
Athenians had broken the Thirty Years’ Peace of 446. This decision is to 
some extent (see p. 371) motivated by Spartan fear of the growing power 
of the Athenians, since they saw that most of Hellas was already subject 
to them (1.88). ‘This is how the Athenians came to power’ (1.89.1), and 
we are plunged into a fairly detailed narrative of events of 478 and 477 in 
a style perhaps nearer to story-telling than that in which the war itself is 
described. When the story reaches 477 and the establishment of the 
Delian League, we get a more extended second introduction, which 
begins by saying that his motive for telling the story of the ‘Fifty Years’ 
(known to modern scholarship as the Pentekontaetia) was to fill a gap left 
by all his predecessors except Hellanicus, and adds, almost as an 
afterthought, that the story also demonstrates the growth of Athenian 
power (1.97.2). There follows a fairly breathless survey of events down 
to the end of the Samian revolt, notably short, after a reflective passage at 
1.99 and a brief comment at 1.103.4, of material to direct the reader’s 
mind in any particular direction, until a resumptive passage at 1. 1 1 8. 1-2 
brings us back to the main narrative. This section on the Fifty Years is 
supplemented by a separate account of the careers of Pausanias and 
Themistocles (1 . 1 2 8— 3 8), an account very close in style to 1 .89—96, which 
may reasonably be thought to be more vulnerable than normal Thucydi- 
dean narrative to suspicions about the nature and value of the underlying 
evidence. 11 

The reference to Hellanicus’ work could point to a date of compo- 
sition after 406, since Hellanicus covered events of that year ( FGrH 323a 
F 25—6), but need not date more than the sentence in which it appears. 
Further speculation is inseparably bound up with more general worries 
about the extent of Thucydides’ changes of mind and plan. 12 My own 
conviction is that there was a relatively late change of plan and that 
material originally written for other purposes has been incompletely 
integrated into the work as we have it, 13 but the methodological 
principle has to remain unaltered. Even those who suspect that we are 
dealing with work by Thucydides which is incomplete and insufficiently 
scrutinized depart at their peril from what we actually have. 

11 Rhodes 1970 (c 82); Westlake 1977 (c 108). 

12 See Andrewes, HCT v 384-444, and below, p. 372. 

13 But see Walker 1957 (c 106); Connor 1984 (c 22) 42—7. 

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The work of Diodorus of Agyrium in Sicily (frequently Diodorus 
Siculus), who was writing in the third quarter of the first century B.C., is a 
very different matter . 14 He covers the events of this volume, in Books 
xi. 3 8 -fin., xii-xiii of his Bibliotheke. Despite some modern scepticism , 15 
the position established by nineteenth-century scholarship 16 still stands, 
that his basic method was to summarize one previous author at a time, 
and that for the fifth century that author was Ephorus . 17 Ephorus wrote 
katagenos, one subject at atime, and it is not clear how much chronology 
he gave and how he organized it. As the work comes through in 
Diodorus, it has been chopped up into ‘years’ which equate Roman 
consular-years and Athenian archon-years; in reality, these were never 
coterminous. The operation was conducted with little care or skill, and 
the appearance of any event in Diodorus’ main narrative under a 
particular year is not to be regarded as evidence for its dating . 18 There are 
items at the end, more rarely at the beginning of years, which are derived 
from a chronological handbook and are more likely to be reliable. But 
the danger of trusting Diodorus’ competence can be seen most clearly 
from the fact that he has read his chronological handbook as dating the 
reign of Archidamus from 476 10434 (xi. 48.2, xii.3 5.4), but still reports 
his activity in the early years of the Archidamian War. 

Through Diodorus and from other evidence, we can form some 
judgement of Ephorus of Cyme in Asia Minor, writing a universal 
history in the third quarter of the fourth century . 19 It is clear that he 
relied substantially on good earlier sources for our period, successively 
Herodotus, Thucydides and the author of the Hellenica Oxyrhynchia (see 
below). Sometimes he added from other sources, sometimes he simply 
reworked the material for his own purposes. These purposes are not easy 
to see through Diodorus’ perhaps selective treatment of him, and we are, 
for example, left uncertain whether he attempted a general account of the 
political events and cultural achievement of the Periclean age. But there 
is no reason to attribute to him a preference for truth over what was 
stylistically appropriate and congenial to his own outlook. Sound 
method will not construe a sentence of Diodorus closely to provide strict 
evidence, and one should not be too hasty to assume information 
independent of Thucydides if there is nothing else un-Thucydidean in 
the context. 

14 On Diodorus in general, see Schwartz 1903 (c 88), Griffith 1968 (c 38) 204—5, 2 37> J- 
Homblowcr 1981 (c 51) 18-39. 

15 E.g. Laqueur 1958 (c 65); Drews 1962 (c 28); Casevitz 1972 (c 15) xiii-xv. 

16 Volquardsen 1868 (C 103); Holzapfel 1879 (c 49). 

17 For some qualifications about the history of the West, see CAH vi 2 , ch.5. 

18 Modern scholars, nevertheless, particularly for the fourth century, often act on an undeclared 
principle that Diodorus is right except when he is demonstrably wrong. 

19 On Ephorus in general see Schwartz 1907 (c 89), FGrH 11c 22-35, Barber 1935 (c 9). 

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One continuator of Thucydides has already been mentioned, the 
author of the Hellenica Oxyrbynchia. This work is represented for us by 
three groups of papyrus fragments, two small, covering various events 
in 409—407, one large, covering events of 396 and 3 9 5. 20 The groups 
cohere in style, in intelligence, and in their obvious relationship to 
Diodorus. We are dealing with a continuator of Thucydides, presumably 
starting with the year 41 1 (with some back-references), writing towards 
the middle of the fourth century; the terminal date of the work cannot be 
established. The only author’s name which we possess which can be 
plausibly attached to it is that of the Athenian Cratippus, but even that 
attribution is not without difficulty. 21 The importance of the fragments 
lies not only in their direct contributions, but also in the assurance which 
they offer that a sober historian lies somewhere behind Diodorus. Much 
recent work on the late fifth and early fourth centuries has been based on 
a growing preference for Diodorus over Xenophon. 22 

Xenophon’s Hellenica is the only continuation of Thucydides which 
survives complete. As we have it, it begins a few weeks after the end of 
Thucydides’ account in 41 1 and runs down to 362. It is virtually 
impossible to establish at what stages in Xenophon’s life, mostly spent in 
exile from Athens in the Peloponnese and ending around 350, any given 
section was written; differences in attitude and style appear to separate, 
for example, the account of the Peloponnesian War to its end (11.2.23 or 
11. 3 .9) from the account of the Thirty at Athens. 23 At times more vivid in 
detail than Thucydides, the work has had few whole-hearted admirers in 
recent years, although its faults perhaps arise more from deficiencies of 
information and intellectual grip than from pro-Spartan bias; 24 Xeno- 
phon can criticize Sparta and Spartans. The first two books have come 
down to us with a spurious and inconsistent chronological framework; 25 
Xenophon’s own attempts at chronological accuracy are sporadic and 

Theopompus of Chios ( c . 380— c. 315), a more intelligent, but less 

20 The only complete edition is McKechnie and Kern 1988 (c 69). The large London group and 
the small Florence group are edited by Bartoletti 1959 (c 10), with a commentary by Bruce 1967 (c 
14). For the Cairo fragments see Koenen 1976 (c 62). 

21 The best discussion of authorship (based on the London fragments only) is by Bloch 1940 (c 
1 1). For our direct information about Cratippus, see FGrH 64. He surely covered the right material 
and had an interest in Thucydides. The difficulty about the attribution is that Dionysius of 
Halicarnassus, though claiming knowledge of Cratippus ( de Thuc. 16), says that no one after 
Thucydides wrote by summers and winters {ibid. 9 fin.); our author seems to have done this (rx.i). 

22 For the fifth century, see Andrewes 1974 (d 2) and 1982 (g 6), Liftman 1968 (g 25), Ehrhardt 
1970 (G 13). For the beginnings of a reaction see Tuplin 1986 (c 101). 

23 On Xenophon in general, see Breitenbach 1967 (c 13), Anderson 1974 (c 3). Delebecque 1957 
(c 2 j) provides an over-confident attempt to analyse and date the composition of the Hellenica. See 
also Hatzfeld 1930 (c 46), Maclaren 1934 (c 70). 

24 Breitenbach 1950(0 i2);Sordi 1950-1 (c 93); Cawkwell 1979(0 16) 1 5-46; Montgomery 1965 

(c 73). 25 Raubitschek 1973 (c 80) attempts vainly to defend it; see Lotze 1974 (c 67). 

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amiable figure, wrote two relevant works. 26 The Hellenica , a continuation 
of Thucydides from 41 1 to 394, is thought to be a relatively youthful 
work; few fragments survive. We know rather more about two books of 
his Pbilippica, which covered much of importance for the fifth century, 
Book x, on the Athenian Demagogues, and Book xxv, on Athenian 
Lies. 27 The second and probably the first were largely polemic in 
character, and Theopompus clearly took pleasure in saying what might 
be unusual and unpopular. But he combined learning with an acute 
appreciation of some types of political reality, and it is regrettable that 
those authors who have transmitted his fragments had a marked 
penchant for the sensational. As far as the nature of his narrative in the 
Hellenica is concerned, there is important testimony by Porphyry of Tyre 
(a.d. 234 —c. 302), an excellent judge, that it was heavily dependent on 
Xenophon, but changed for the worse ( FGrH 1 15 f 21). 

So far we have been dealing with historians, 28 but this is not an 
appropriate designation for the remaining major source for the fifth 
century, Plutarch of Chaeronea (a.d. c . 50 -c. 120). 29 Mistakes can be 
made if he is taken to be writing history rather than ethical studies of 
character, for which facts serve as illustrations, but he can allow interest 
in his story to run away with him. We would be substantially worse off 
without the one Spartan ( Lysander ) and six Athenian ( Themistocles , 
Aristides , Cimon, Pericles, Nicias, Alcibiades) lives which cover the fifth 
century, since an enormous body of reading lies behind them; the older 
fashion for believing that it was not his own reading is in disrepute. 30 
The Nicias indeed is relatively slight, adding not much more than a few 
comic fragments to a reworking of Thucydides’ account, but the rest 
draw on a large body of material, even to judge by the authors cited by 
name. These range from intelligent fifth-century sources (Ion of Chios, 
Critias), through scandal-mongers of the fifth (Stesimbrotus of Thasos) 
and the late fourth (Idomeneus) centuries, to the fourth-century philoso- 
phers, and significant detail is sought from all of them. It is normally 
harder to determine the source of narrative passages, when the source 
has not survived. My own inclination is to attach importance to 

26 The fragments are collected in FGrH 1 1 5. On Theopompus in general, see Von Fritz 1941 (c 
33), Connor 1967 (c 20), Lane Fox 1986 (c 64). 27 A full treatment in Connor 1968 (c 21). 

28 Of those not so far mentioned, Aristodemus (not later than second century a.d.; FGrH 104; 
also P. Oxj. xxvii 2469) adds nothing to our knowledge of the Ephorean tradition. The work of 
Pompeius Trogus (first century B.c.) is potentially more interesting, but the Latin epitome by J ustin 
through which we mainly know it is so incompetently executed as to make certainties hard to find. 

29 For Plutarch’s historical methods, see Gomme, HCT r $4-84, Stadter 1965 (c 94), Pelling 1980 
(c 78). Russell 1963 (c 86) is a particularly valuable study of his dealings with a source we still 

30 The classical attempt to establish intermediate sources is Meyer 1899 (a 87) 1-87, but see 
Theander 1951 (c 99), Hamilton 1969 (c 41) xliii-xlvi. Frost 1980 (c 36) 40-50. 

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demonstrable use of Theopompus in the Pericles 31 and to the large 
number of places in the Alcibiades and the Lysander where the narrative is 
visibly closer to that of Xenophon than to that of Diodorus, without 
being quite the same. On Porphyry’s showing, these may well depend on 
Theopompus, despite Plutarch’s suspicions about his attitudes ( Lys . 

Plutarch took his material where he found it and as he could use it, and 
his judgement about the nature and aims of his sources is not impeccable. 
In the Pericles (4.6— 6. i), for example, he uses Plato for Pericles’ education 
without noticing the marked irony of the original. On a larger scale, he 
has to struggle with the disagreement of his sources about Pericles. He 
solves the trouble that Theopompus thought him a demagogue and 
Thucydides thought him a great statesman by positing a great change 
after the ostracism of Thucydides son of Melesias (16.3). He is less happy 
with the difficulty that, whereas Thucydides thought him a great 
statesman, everyone else said that he had precipitated an unnecessary and 
damaging war for personal reasons, and eventually leaves it unresolved. 
Neither he nor Ephorus before him had the ability to evaluate justly the 
evidence of Old Comedy and pamphleteers. We should not ourselves be 
too confident that we fully understand fragments torn from their 

For the last quarter of the fifth century, the contemporary evidence of 
comedy and oratory begins to be of value. 32 The evaluation of comic 
evidence is a complex matter, but it is frequently possible to distinguish 
between a joke or a piece of abuse and the fact which makes the joke or 
abuse meaningful; Ar. Knights 465—9 is not evidence for Cleon’s 
treachery, but it is evidence for negotiations with Argos (see p. 387 
below). Similar situations arise in using oratory. One may sometimes 
have to distinguish between a public fact, which must correspond to 
something within the jury’s knowledge, and the assertion of a private 
fact, which need not. 33 In general, one should always try to envisage the 
lost argument of an opponent. 

One last literary category remains, that of the Atthides, the chronicles 
devoted to Athenian history. 34 Closely related to these is the Athenian 
Constitution of Aristotle. 35 The earliest Atthis, composed by Hellanicus 

31 Wade-Gery 1958 (a 121) 2 3 3 — 9. 

32 Standing by itself is the Pseudo-Xenophontine Athenaion Politeia , sometimes known as ‘the 
Old Oligarch’, a short pamphlet, of which the aims and date are disputed. On its aims see, e.g., 
Gomme 1962 (a 51) 38-69, Lewis 1969 (c 66). 

33 Take, e.g., Lys. xx. That Polystratus was elected to office by his fellow-tribesmen (2) is a public 
fact; that he wrote down nine thousand names (1 3) is not, but the second statement is normally given 
more credit than the first. See Andrewes, HCT v 204—6 and p. 475 below. 

34 On the Atthides in general, see Jacoby 1949 (c 57) and FGrH m b with commentary. 

35 On all matters connected with this work, see Rhodes 1981 (c 83), who does not believe in 
Aristotelian authorship. There is no doubt that it was written between 335 and 322 and was 
attributed to Aristotle in antiquity. The present volume will be found to vary in its practice as to 
how its author is referred to. 

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of Lesbos, contained, as we have seen, events of the year 406, though its 
composition may have started earlier. A number of successors followed, 
notably Androtion, probably a main source for Aristotle and composing 
in the 340s, 36 and the third-century Philochorus. 37 Their main import- 
ance for us is chronological, since they arranged events by Athenian 
archons. Not only direct quotations, but dates given in this form by 
scholiasts are likely to go back to them. The temptation is to believe that 
a date given by an Atthis must be sound, at any rate for the fifth century, 
but occasionally one may wonder how such a date could have been fixed, 
even by Hellanicus. The Athenian Constitution , well preserved, but not 
without confusion and bias, not only presents special problems, better 
discussed in relation to particular episodes, but sometimes makes one 
wonder whether a well-preserved Atthis would enjoy the confidence 
which the fragments currently command. 

Much depends on the evidence which we think Hellanicus could have 
found and whether he used it. Here we are dependent on our evidence 
from inscriptions on stone. These suggest that some archival material 
existed well before the end of the century, not necessarily that it was well 
ordered and usable. 38 Decrees of the people on stone only occasionally 
bear archon-dates before 42 1 , 39 Building accounts, expense accounts and 
records of tribute-payment 40 are datable rather earlier, so that we are in a 
position to say that tribute-payment was recorded at Athens from spring 
45 3 ( IG i 3 259) and that the first year of payments for the Parthenon was 
447/6 ( IG i 3 436). No one doubts that the amount on public record 
substantially increased after the reforms of Ephialtes (see below, p. 70), 
but towards the beginning of our period it is not easy to see how some 
dates could be known for certain. And what applies to dates might apply 
still more to the historical circumstances of a fact or decision, even if the 
fact or decision was itself dated. Herodotus and Thucydides reflect much 
oral tradition, and there was of course much more to be acquired, but, 
when we consider the farrago of confused nonsense which Andocides 
(hi. 3— 9) could parade to an Athenian jury in 391 as fifth-century history, 
we will not be disposed to place much confidence in oral tradition about 
Athens’ external history. 41 

Thucydides’ disapproval (v.20.2) of archon-dating systems rested on 
the ground that to talk about the beginning, middle or end of an 
archonship was not precise, though it must be admitted that we do not 
necessarily get much further with placing events in his summers and 

36 FGrH 324. See also Harding 1977 (c 44). 37 FCrH 328. 

38 On public archives in the fifth century, see Boegehold 1972 (d 8). 

39 Mattingly 1961 (E45) 124, and 1963 (e 47) 272 n. 73, thinks that virtually none do. 

40 Strictly speaking, payments of tribute were not recorded on stone. What we possess (edited in 
AT L; see also IG i 3 259-90) are records of the one-sixtieth (a mina in every talent) which went to 

41 But W. E. Thompson 1967 (c 100) thinks that Andocides was dependent on Hellanicus. On 
oral tradition see now Thomas 1989 (a 114). 

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winters. 42 We could add that events separated by one archonship, 
though describable as ‘in the third year’ (rpirtf) bei, with inclusive 
count), might be anything from 14 to 34 months apart. Nevertheless, 
archon-dates have the advantage for us that we do possess a continuous 
list of Athenian archons which we can relate to Julian years from 480 to 
292 b.c. 43 and that there is therefore a chronological system in use in the 
fifth century which we can relate to our own. 44 

Athenian archon-years were lunar years starting with a mid-summer 
new moon. As lunar years, they needed the frequent intercalation of a 
thirteenth month to bring them and their festivals into line with the sun; 
they therefore varied in length, having 3 5 4 or 3 5 5 , 3 8 3 or 3 84 days. Fora 
long period in the fifth century, ending in 407 or 406, the Council of Five 
Flundred operated on a solar year, normally of 366 days, not cotermi- 
nous with the archon-year; such years, designated by the name of the first 
of the ten secretaries of the year, were occasionally used for dating 
purposes ( IG i 3 46.19—20, 364, etc.). We may assume that the dating of 
the Atthidographers was intended to conform to a real Attic year. It is 
most unlikely that Diodorus understood what he was doing enough to 
intend anything of the kind, even for events relating to Athens; other late 
historians, notably Arrian and Josephus, also used the sequence of Attic 
years for general chronology. Even in Attic contexts, things might 
sometimes go wrong; for example, Alcibiades’ return to Athens in 407 
(see p. 487 below) cannot have been in the archonship of Antigenes (407 / 
6) (Schol. Ar. Frogs 1422). 

A fixed point for the start of our period is provided by Herodotus’ 
confidence (vm.51.1) that Athens was captured in the archonship of 
Calliades (480/79). This gives us 480 as the year of Salamis, 45 479 for 
Plataea and Mycale, and we can be reasonably confident that Pausanias’ 
campaign to Cyprus and Byzantium (Thuc. 1. 94-5; see p. 35 below) 
belongs to 478. There is equally no doubt that the Peloponnesian War 
started in 431; this is confirmed not only by Thucydides’ archon-date 
(11.2. 1), but by the eclipse of the sun (27 July) which he places in the same 
summer. The interval which he asserts (11.2.1) had elapsed since the 
Thirty Years’ Peace seems to place that in winter 446/ 5. 46 

For the years from 478 to 446 we are much worse placed. As we have 
seen, we have contemporary evidence for dating the start of the tribute 
record at Athens to spring 45 3 and of work on the Parthenon to the Attic 
year 447/6, but neither of these events is recorded by Thucydides, so that 

42 For discussion of the beginnings and ends of Thucydidean seasons, see van der Waerden and 
Pritchett 1961 (b 17), Meritt 1964 (g 29), Gomme, HCT in 699-71}, Andrewes, HCT iv 18-21. 

43 The framework for this is provided by Diodorus and Dionysius of Halicarnassus' Dinarchus. 

44 How closely we can get to Julian dates by month and day is another matter; see below, n. j 2. 

45 Correspondingly the eclipse of Hdt. is that of 2 October 480. 

46 He will have been thinking more precisely at ii.2.1 than at 11.21.1, where he carelessly 
transposes the fourteen years into a different context. 

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we cannot relate them to his account. No relevant eclipse appears in the 
tradition, and the only useful event datable outside the Athenian system 
is the death of Xerxes, recently firmly dated to August 46 5 ; 47 Diodorus, 
who places it under 465/4 (xi.69), got it right. 

Despite Thucydides’ complaint (1.97.2) that Hellanicus’ treatment of 
the period was short and chronologically imprecise, his own dates, as he 
has left them, are insufficient for a complete chronology of the events 
which he describes, and events which he does not mention present even 
greater difficulties. 48 He frequently simply links events with temporal 
adverbs. Often he does speak in terms of years, but interpretation of the 
word ‘year’ has varied. Given his general attitude, conscious use of 
archon-years can be ruled out, but it sometimes makes a difference if one 
takes a year to be analogous to the use in the main body of the work, a 
twelve-month period covering a summer and a winter, or if one takes it 
to be a campaigning season. A slight variation on the campaigning- 
season concept would be to think of the period from one winter public 
funeral to another. That possibility is particularly relevant to us, since we 
possess a funeral monument of the Erechtheid tribe with the names of 
those who fell ‘in Cyprus, Phoenicia and in Egypt, at Halieis, Aegina and 
Megara, in the same year’ ( rov axnov iviavrov; M-L 3 3). This should be 
the first year of the Egyptian expedition, 460 or 459 (see below, p. 501). 
More trouble arises over doubts as to whether events are recounted in a 
rigid order 49 or with forward and backward references; at least one 
resumptive passage seems to break the order at 1.109. 

A vital clue comes from elsewhere in Thucydides’ work. In iv. 1 02.2-3 
it is asserted that the first attempt to settle the site of Amphipolis was 
made by Aristagoras of Miletus (cf. CAH iv 2 . 485-6), that the Athenians 
came thirty-two years later and met with disaster at Drabescus (cf. 
1. 100. 3 and p. 46 below), but came again in the 27th year under Hagnon 
and finally founded Amphipolis (see p. 145 below). In what terms these 
time-intervals came to Thucydides we cannot know. Fortunately, we 
have a date for Hagnon’s foundation, 437/6, twice transmitted, once 
apparently from an Atthis (Schol. Aeschin. 11.3 1), once from Diodorus’ 
chronological source (xn.32 50 ). The disaster at Drabescus consequently 
belongs about 46 5/4, 51 with uncertainty about the correlation between 
the archon-year for Amphipolis and whatever form of year Thucydides 

47 A Babylonian eclipse text has ‘Xerxes* son killed him’ against a date equivalent to somewhere 
between 4 and 8 August (Stolper 1988 (b 15) 196-7). The accession of Artaxerxes was known in 
southern Egypt by 4 January 464 (Cowley 1923 (a 21) no. 6); the year is referred to as the 21st year of 
Xerxes and the accession year of Artaxerxes. 

48 The most useful comprehensive treatments are those by Gomme, HCT 1 389-415, AT L ui 

158-80, Hammond 1955 (b 5); see also Deane 1972 (b 4), Bayer and Heideking 1975 (b 2), Badian 
1988 (b i). 49 As held by AT L in 162. 

50 Note that the main narrative event given to the year cannot belong to it. 

51 The date of 45 3/2 given by Schol. Aeschin. 11.31 cannot be right, despite Badian 1988 (b i). 

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is using, and this should also give us an approximate date for the 
neighbouring events, the revolt of Thasos (p. 44 below) and the 
beginning of the Helot Revolt (pp. 108-9 below). 

The periods before and after 465/4 each contain one major problem. 
Thucydides has been universally followed in his belief (shared with 
another fifth-century author, Charon ofLampsacus) that, when Themis- 
tocles fled to Asia, Artaxerxes was already on the throne; fourth-century 
and later authors brought him to the court of his old enemy Xerxes. 
Accepting this presents problems if Thucydides’ casual allusion to the 
siege of Naxos coinciding with Themistocles’ flight (1. 137.2) is taken 
seriously. Thucydides’ statement (1.103 . 0 that the Helot Revolt ended in 
its tenth year is in hopeless conflict with any belief in the rigidity of his 
chronological order. These and smaller problems are dealt with in the 
narrative chapters or in the Chronological Notes at the end of the book; 
it will be seen that we frequently run short of events to fill the period. We 
are still far from having agreed solutions on major matters. Scholars may 
legitimately disagree by up to five or six years about the date of the battle 
of the Eurymedon or the end of the Helot Revolt, and for the death of 
Pausanias the margin is even wider. 

When Thucydides’ main narrative starts, the problems change char- 
acter and arguments may concern weeks rather than years. There are 
events in the Peloponnesian War for which very close dates in the Julian 
calendar can be plausibly argued on the basis of the inter-relationship 
between the two Athenian calendars and on epigraphic evidence, 52 but 
the historical consequences are seldom substantial. Problems do multi- 
ply after the end of Thucydides because of the nature of the sources. It 
may be hoped that we do now know whether Alcibiades came back to 
Athens in 408 or 407 (below, pp. 503—5), but it takes a complex argument 
to get the answer. This volume may sometimes be found surprisingly 
sceptical or critical of Thucydides, but chronology is only one index of 
the difference between having his guidance and losing it. 

52 Meritt’s successive tables of Julian equivalences for the late fifth century (1928 (c 146) 84-1 22; 
1952(0 147) 174—9; I 9 ( ^ 1 ( c *49) 202-19; J97iand 1978(0 3o))have been criticized by Pritchett (e.g. 
195 7 (c 157) 293—300), on the ground that we cannot control the amount of irregular intercalation 
the Athenians may have indulged in, but see Dover, HCT iv 264-70. 

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Throughout Books vii— ix Herodotus refers to those who resisted the 
Persian invasion as ‘the Greeks’. 1 His shorthand is understandable, but 
over-simplifies: ‘those who, being Greeks, submitted to the Persians 
without compulsion’ (Hdt. vii. 132.2) were no marginal group, not to 
speak of those Greeks who stood aloof, or had pressing business 
elsewhere, or were already willing or unwilling Persian vassals. 2 Yet his 
phraseology is important: copied by Thucydides in his survey of the 
development of ‘what is now called Hellas’ (1.2. 1), and even by the 
otherwise chauvinistic writers of Athenian funeral speeches, 3 it reflects 
both the language of war-time diplomacy (Hdt. vn.i 30.3, 132.2, 148.1) 
and the poetry of the post-war decades, especially Aeschylus’ Persae and 
the epigrams of Simonides. Plainly, to Greeks of the time ‘the Greeks’ 
were an entity, and ‘Greece’ much more than a geographical expression. 
To attempt to define the nature of that entity is therefore not just a task of 
historical analysis. It is also, at least in part, a matter of reconstructing a 
collective consciousness, and the two tasks are separate but not 

To identify the Greek world as a cultural system is at first sight fairly 
easy. One can define it first and foremost by language. For all the 
divergences of phonology and vocabulary among and within the four 
major dialect groupings (Attic/Ionic, Arcado-Cypriot, Aeolic, and 
Doric/North-west Greek), the dialects were mutually intelligible: the 
main perceived gulf was not between dialects but between Greek and all 
other languages. The pan-Greek use of Doric and of Homeric Ionic as 
literary dialects plainly attuned ears well enough, and Aristophanes 
evidently saw little point in jokes of mutual incomprehension when 
depicting Athenians’ conversations with Megarians, Thebans, and 
Spartans ( Ach . 72.9ft and 86off, Lys. 98off and toyoff). His evidence 
therefore counts, even though his concern was with dramatic colour 
rather than with philology and though comparison with epigraphic 
evidence has revealed some false forms. 4 Again, without mutual compre- 

1 ATL hi 97 n. 12: Brunt 1953-4 (a 10) 145 f. Hdt. vii.145.1 is exceptional. 

2 Gillis 1979 (a 46) 59-71. 3 Strasburger 1958 (c 98) 23^ 4 Elliott 1914 0 35 ) 20 7 ff- 

1 5 

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hension, institutions such as the Panhellenic Games, oracles,, Amphic- 
tyonies, inter-city diplomacy, or the campaigns of a multi-city alliance 
would have been impractical, not to speak of cross-border or maritime 
trading: the particularisms of the writing systems for numerals, of month 
names, or of calendars in general, though tiresome, were not insuperable 
handicaps. 5 

In contrast, the boundary between Greeks and others had long since 
crystallized in the word barbaros . 6 Significantly, its first known use refers 
to language, that of the ‘barbarian-voiced Carians’ ( Kapusv { 3 apf 3 apo- 
<f>u>vu>v, Horn. II. ii. 267). Significantly too, it was this word, the very 
formation of which betrays a primarily linguistic perception of the 
boundary, which came to prevail, rather than the wholly obscure loan- 
word karban\karbanos used on occasion by Aeschylus ( Suppl . 1 18, 914; 
Ag. 1061). Barbaros retained its linguistic connotation throughout the 
fifth century and beyond, but as early as Heraclitus it was also carrying an 
extended semantic load: ‘eyes and ears are bad witnesses for men, since 
they have barbarian souls’ (D-K 22 b 107). Heraclitus’ point, purely 
epistemological, was that by itself the evidence of the senses lacked logos 
(rational cohesion), but the implication was that those who lacked 
certain essential qualities were thereby ‘barbarian’: those who were 
(linguistically) unintelligible were well on their way to being seen as 
unintelligent (thus, rightly, Diller 1962 (a 24) 40), and by the early fifth 
century the attribution of cultural superiority to Greeks by Greeks was 
coming to provide a second, highly subjective definition of Greek 
cultural unity. Aeschylus and Herodotus document it in various ways, 
which reflect as much the need to explain Greek success in the Persian 
Wars as the ethnographic interests and compilations of the previous 
generation. True, Herodotus in his philobarbaros mood was quite capable 
of contrasting the anthropomorphic simple-mindedness of Greek theo- 
logy unfavourably with the greater sophistication of the barbarians (sc. 
Persians). 7 Likewise, ethnographic juxtapositions could yield compari- 
sons which were neutral, or explicitly dodged value judgements (as in 
Herodotus’ report of Darius’ experiment confronting Greek and Indian 
funeral customs, 111.38), or even made Greeks come off worst (Hdt. 
1. 1 33.2, 1 33.1-2, iv. 79. 3). However, the bias of judgement is represented 
rather by the claims of superior Greek ‘arete, the product of wisdom and 
strict law’ which Demaratus advances in his conversation with Xerxes 
(Hdt. vn.101-4, esp. 102. iand 104.4). Examples to the same effect were 
the failure of Danaus’ herald and daughters respectively to respect Greek 

5 Dow 19; 2 (a 28); Samuel 1972 (b i i ) 57-1 58. 

6 Jiithner 1923 (a 70); Bacon 1961 (j 2); Schwabl 1962 (a no); Backhaus 1976 (j 1). 

1 Hdt. 1.60.3 with the unemended text vindicated by Burkert 1963 0 1 j) 97-8 and Lloyd-joncs 
1971 Cl 70) 180 n. 45. 

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gods and the sanctuary their altars offered (Aesch. Suppl. 893 fT), and to 
understand that a king was not necessarily a despot (ibid. 365—75), or the 
portrait in both Aeschylus and Herodotus of Xerxes’ blasphemous 
failure to understand or respect the divine ordering of the world. Small 
wonder that for Anacharsis ‘the Greeks were all occupied in the pursuit 
of every kind of knowledge, except the Lacedaemonians: who, however, 
alone knew how to converse sensibly’ (Hdt. iv.77. 1). No doubt such 
claims were the idle invention of the Greeks themselves (Hdt. iv.77.2), 
but they reveal well enough the profile which, complacently but with 
some justice, they thought they presented to the barbarian world. 

Certain shared norms, inherent in shared customs and common values 
as expressed in a common language, provided a third facet of Greek 
cultural unity. Hybris (offensive behaviour damaging the honour of 
another), ate (blind guilty rashness and its destructive consequences), 
time (honour), dike (justice), arete (virtue, excellence), charis (grace, obli- 
gation, favour), and other complex or loaded words denoted values and 
expectations which would willy-nilly be shared by all Greek speakers 
and which did to some degree constitute a single interlocking system of 
thought and belief. Together with institutions such as blood-guilt, 
recognition of suppliants, monogamous marriage, chattel slavery, patri- 
linear and patrilocal descent, and inheritance without right of primoge- 
niture, they could be thought of as the ‘nomoi (laws/customs) of the 
Greeks’. 8 Granted, the phrase should not be pushed too hard. The 
divergences among Greek states in legal practice, principle and authority 
were too great to allow the Greeks to be a ‘people of the Law’ in the way 
the Jews became. Nomos could denote alike the customs of human 
society in general, those of non-Greek societies, or those of a particular 
Greek polity. 9 Nevertheless, the contrast between Greek freedom under 
law and the arbitrariness of a monarch, thought to be characteristic of 
non-Greek societies, was plainly felt and expressed. 

Lastly, and in some formal sense, cult and ritual helped to define 
Greek cultural unity. Not transparently so, for in many ways Greek 
religion was not sui generis. The components of Greek ritual - prayer / 
benefit/gratitude, altar/shrine/templety/wemr, offerings/procession/festi- 
val/contest, purification/oracle/mysteries, polytheism more or less 
ordered — were not peculiarly Greek, nor was the Greek mixture of them 
unique (Egyptian religion was a closely analogous system, to name no 
other). Nor could Greek be clearly distinguished from non-Greek gods. 
The origin of many was outlandish or opaque enough, while Pindar 
himself provides evidence in just our period not only of the rapproche- 
ment between Greek and non-Greek deity which identified, e.g., Zeus 

8 E.g. Hdt. vi. 86/3 z; Thuc. 1.41. Other references in Osrwaid 1969 (d 64) 55-7. 

9 Finley 1966 (a 57); Osrwaid 1969 (d 64) 20-56. 

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with the Egyptian oracle-god Ammon, but also of Greek receptivity for 
foreign gods such as the Great Mother. 10 Nevertheless, what matters in a 
polytheistic system is not the individual gods so much as the interlocking 
structure, and that was specific to Greek culture. It was admittedly a 
loose-knit structure, reflecting the interplay in the Dark and Archaic 
periods between local multi-functional deities on the one hand and on 
the other the greater theological tidiness diffused through the panhelle- 
nic shrines and the literary tradition, 11 but precisely for that reason it 
managed to accommodate the attachments of deities to specific Greek 
localities within a framework which defined the relationship of the major 
deities to each other. This framework, inevitably genealogical with gods 
so anthropomorphic as the Greek, not only unified into a divine family 
the powers of the natural and psychological worlds which the gods were 
imputed to command, but also (and thereby) integrated with the divine 
order all the social groups and activities which the gods collectively or 
individually could be invoked to protect. Here above all the Greekness 
of the system was to be found. Just as the family of Olympian Gods had a 
uniquely Greek locus, or as the cult titles applied to each deity in its 
various capacities - Zeus Horkios (of the oath), Athene Ergane (of 
craftsmanship), Hermes Enagonios (of the contest), and so on - were 
nearly all transparently Greek, so too the deities and institutions to 
which they gave cohesion and protection — lineage, village, ‘tribe’, polis, 
occupational group, age-group, or hazard-group such as seafarers or 
women in labour — came to define each other, and to define Greek space, 
symbolically. ‘In this way the sacrificial community is a model of Greek 
society’ (Burkert 1985 (k 16) 255). That such definitions could exclude 
non-Greeks from this or that festival or sanctuary (Hdt. v.22) is a 
measure of the system’s success in creating Greek consciousness; that 
they could also exclude certain sorts of Greek 12 reminds us that other 
boundaries could also be important. 


If we now think of the Greek world of the 470s not as a cultural system 
but as an economic system, its unity is much less perspicuous, for there 
are intractable problems involved in relating description to theory in the 
domain of Greek economic history. Detailed discussion of them is 
reserved to a later chapter focused on Athens (chapter 8g), since the shifts 
in behaviour which have provoked much of the recent debate took place 

10 Classen 1959 (k 18) (Ammon); Bowra 1964 (j 9) 5 of; Nilsson 1967 (k 69) 747f. 

11 Vernant 1974 (a 118) lojff = Vernant 1980 (a 119) 92#; Burkert 1977 (k 13) 331-43; 
Sourvinou-Inwood 1978 (k 86). 

12 Hdt. 1. 143. 3-144. 1, v.72.3; DGE 773; Alty 1982 (a i) i 5. 

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there and are best attested there. In the present context, the complexities 
emerge best if we distinguish at least three levels or modes or sectors of 
economic activity. The first and fundamental one consisted of the 
exploitation of an incalculable number of privately owned farms or 
estates, large or small, unitary or fragmented, worked by the owner and 
his family, by the owner with slave help, by a bailiff and slaves, by share- 
croppers, tenants, or serfs, in each case with or without temporary hired 
help from labourers of ‘free’ status. These estates produced in very 
varying proportions both the Mediterranean staples — cereals (wheat or 
barley), olive-oil and wine - and their essential complements such as fruit 
and vegetables, and cheese, meat and wool from sheep, goats, cattle and 

At this primary level the Greek world showed much uniformity but 
little interaction. Its uniformity derived in part from its ecological and 
climatic limits, in that Greeks had not penetrated as agricultural settlers 
either beyond the northern limit of olive cultivation or beyond dry- 
farming zones into areas of very low rainfall which required large-scale 
irrigation. In part it derived from the overwhelming primacy of the 
widely distributed private beneficial ownership of land. Though there 
were free landless men, and owners of broad acres, social and military 
pressures had so far worked effectively against the polarization of society 
between such extremes and in favour of the largely autarkic peasant, each 
working his own kleros (inherited lot ) 13 and entitled to status within the 
community, or obliged to provide services to it, in proportion to the size 
of that kleros. True, some land was owned by deities, by cult-groups, or 
collectively, and was rented out to individual tenants , 14 but such 
assignments never made Greek deities and temples into the preponder- 
ant landholders and economic powers which they became in Egypt, the 
East Mediterranean seaboard, or Babylonia. On the contrary the patchy 
evidence we have for Attica suggests that gods, cult-groups and 
collectives owned at most io per cent of the land in the Classical period, 
and probably rather less . 15 

Such uniformity and lack of interaction may also have derived in part 
from autarkeia (self-sufficiency) as a cultural ideal and as an economic 
strategy. As a strategy it still persists in present-day Greece, as revealed 
by the practices of having a little of everything and of deliberately so 

13 Gschnitzer 1981 (l 63) 37. The importance of serfdom in Thessaly and Laconia derogates 
somewhat from this picture, but not totally even there (Cartledge 1979 (f 14) 160-95, esp. 165—70; 
Hodkinson 1986 (f 31) 386ft). 

14 E.g. Rheneia, half of which was owned by Apollo after the 5 20s (Kent 1948 (l 88)), or the orgas 
on the border between Attica and the Megarid (LSCC no. 32). 

15 Lewis 1973 (l 94) 198-9; Andreyev 1974 (l i); Walbank 1983 (c 174); Osborne 1988 (l 109). 
The allotment to Athena of one-tenth of the land of Lesbos in 427 (Thuc. m.50.2) could formally be 
a tithe of war-spoils, but may still be a corroborative hint. 

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planning the planting of wheat as to ensure a surplus over consumption 
in an average year. 16 Similarly the fragmentation of the landholdings of 
one householder, whether in a village or more widely over a landscape or 
even over an entire polis-territory, clear in Classical Athens (see chapter 
8g below), may indeed have been an inconvenient consequence of 
dowry-giving, of division of the kleros among siblings, or of land 
division following collective clearance in the Archaic period, but may 
also have been a deliberate strategy adopted to spread risks and crops 
among a variety of soils and micro-environments. 17 Certainly the fifth- 
century Gortyn code encouraged division of the kleros among siblings 
{Cod. Gort. iv. 3 7— 48 and v. 28-5 4), as did fourth-century theory and 
practice. 18 So too, though the requirements incumbent upon each 
Spartiate to contribute specified minimum amounts of barley, wine, 
cheese, figs and money to his syssition (communal mess) monthly 19 tell us 
nothing about the layout or partition of his kleros , they confirm the 
existence, at least in Spartan political society, of a prejudice against 
agricultural specialization. It is a moot point how far such prejudices 
made autarkeia a cultural ideal. It was a very ambivalent ideal, for though 
its main formulations in fourth-century political theory are couched in 
terms of the self-sufficiency of the city, 20 earlier literary portrayals were 
as much concerned with the self-sufficiency of the individual oikos or 
agronomic unit, 21 while the individual or psychological dimension of 
self-sufficiency which was later to figure so prominently in Cynicism is 
itself prefigured in the later fifth century by Democritus, Hippias of Elis 
and Antisthenes. 22 

That this cultural ideal had economic effects, in the form of resistance 
to and distrust towards markets, exchanges, profit-making, selling and 
so forth, can scarcely be doubted, though the texts which illustrate that 
resistance are nearly all of the fourth century (Hdt. 11.166-7 excepted). 
All the same, however much we may wish to ascribe a leading role to the 
autarkic oikos in the Classical Greek economy, the pressures on it and on 
the domestic mode of production to yield a surplus were considerable. 
Some were dictated by prudence or social pressure, such as the need to 
insure against a crop failure next year, to provide a daughter’s dowry, or 

16 Forbes 1982 (l 44) 356-76. 

17 Forbes 1982 (l 44) 324—5 5 with earlier references and comparative material. 

18 PI. Leg. v, 74 5 d; Arist. Pol. 11, 1263321#; J 7 G 141.16-17, with Salviat and Vatin 1974 (l 124) 

19 The quantities are variously reported by Dicaearchus f 74 Wehrli and Plut. Lyc. 1 2; Cartledge 
1979 (f 14) 170. 

20 Main texts: PI. Leg. iv, 704a ff; Arist. Pol. 1, i252b27#, nr, 1 275b2o, rv, 1291310, vn, 1 3 26biff; 
Austin and Vidal-Naquet 1977 (l 4) 4if, 162-8, 203F 

21 Hes. Op. 342—367; Finley 1962 (a 36) ch. 3. 

22 Respectively D-K 68 b 246; D— K 86 a i and b 1 2; f 80 Caizzi. For Cynic autarkeia see Rich 1956 
(j 88); Paquet 1975 (j 83). 

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to contribute to collective feasts or acts of mutual support via the 
complex relationship of gift and counter-gift expressed in the word 
eranos , 23 Others, such as the obligations to provide tithes of produce to a 
deity (cf. M— L 73) or to bespeak man-days for military or political duties, 
were the product of the political systems in which all Greek house- 
holders and landowners were caught up. Yet others were the products of 
the search for power and social prestige, such as ostentatious generosity 
to the poor, 24 conspicuous consumption at funerals of the kind that 
Solon had had to legislate against (Plut. Solon 21.6), or duly lavish 
performance of the quasi-obligatory public services ( leitourgiai ) for 
festival or military purposes which were becoming an increasingly 
important component of the public economy in the early fifth century in 
Athens and elsewhere (see p. 29 below). Others, lastly, emerged from the 
limitations of self-sufficiency. Since few oikoi could produce salt or fish 
on their own, let alone pottery, cut stone, spices, metal weaponry or 
jewellery, acquisition and exchange of some sort was essential. 

Such processes bring us to economic activity at a second level. By the 
early fifth century it had of course been an established part of life in 
Greek lands and elsewhere for centuries if not millennia. It had been one 
of the preconditions of the colonizing movement, and it continued to 
provide an impetus for war: Miltiades’ expedition against Paros in 489, 
intended simultaneously to satisfy a private quarrel, punish Paros for 
medizing, and enrich the participants (Hdt. VI. 1 3 2-3), shows how the 
nexus of action subsisted. Yet neither this activity, nor the contacts and 
conflicts which it engendered, need have much eroded autarky, in 
practice or in theory, or have gone far to create a unified ‘Greek 
economy’ or even an ‘economy’ as such in the sense of an autonomous 
area of activity, obeying its own behavioural norms and inter-relating 
with cultural or political systems as a partner of equal status. On the 
contrary, acquisition at this level can very properly be regarded as 
embedded in Greek cultures and politics and as largely taking such 
institutional and value-buttressed forms as were consistent with the oikos 
framework. The principal forms were gift-exchange between chiefs and 
aristoi of the kind illustrated repeatedly in the Odyssey, barter, whether the 
silent sea-shore variety of the kind ascribed to the Carthaginians in West 
Africa by Herodotus 25 or the more sociable but socially edgy variety 
engaged in by Homeric prekteres ( Od . vm.162); seizure {avXrj) and 
piracy; 26 or straightforward war. Such activity did not have to involve 
specifically developed places (markets), specific media of exchange 

23 Jameson 1983 (l 8 1) (famine); Gemet 1968 (a 45) (eranos). 

24 Notably Cimon’s in just this period (Davies 1971 (l 27) 311). 

25 rv.196, with Whittaker 1974 (a 124) 68. 

26 Ormerod 1924 (a 94); Bravo 1980 (l 14). For a comparable list relating to the early medieval 
period, Grierson 1959 (l 62). 

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(coinage), specific callings (merchants), or specific value-structures 
(profit-making). Nor did it entail action by any polity; indeed the 
colonizing activity of polities, being directed towards moving mouths 
towards food and other resources rather than the reverse, worked more 
towards re-establishing autarky than eroding it (though emporia, as will 
be seen, are a different matter). Equally such a pattern of acquisition must 
have begun by being, and must long have remained, marginal. It might 
be carried on in marginal time, like Hesiod’s seafaring (Op. 6631! and 
6y8fF). It might be conducted by those marginal to agrarian society 
because young or landless. 27 Or it might involve the acquisition of 
commodities such as jewellery, precious metals, spices, or fine textiles, 
which met the needs of status and display but hardly rated as basic 
commodities of survival as did corn, or metals for weaponry. 

Whether it remained marginal after the Persian Wars is the crucial 
problem. There are three usable criteria: (a) the extent to which the actual 
volume of goods exchanged or acquired grew, ( b ) the extent to which 
trade emancipated itself from gift-exchange, etc., and ( c ) the extent to 
which the demands of exchange stimulated institutional innovation 
elsewhere, even in the behaviour of polities. 28 

The first criterion is non-controversial but of limited value. Some 
flows, such as those of metal ores, marble for statuary and architecture, 
or Attic painted pottery, had plainly grown considerably in the late 
Archaic period. Yet the two latter commodities at least may have been 
minor in bulk and value even at their zenith, 29 while other commodities 
such as slaves, timber, livestock, and most agrarian products will have 
left no direct trace whatever and therefore cannot begin to be measured. 
Evidence from the frequency of shipwrecks, of the kind which has 
proved diagnostic for later Mediterranean history, is as yet neither large 
enough nor sufficiently precise in date to signal trends unambiguously. 
The second criterion has aroused more debate, with claims that the flows 
mentioned above, and others, can be accommodated within a framework 
of commission and patronage. Not all such claims are equally persuasive, 
for the ‘trademarks’ on Corinthian and Attic painted pottery suggest 
detachment as much from patronage as from domestic production, while 

27 Humphreys 1978 (a 66) 165 f. 

28 There is little point in adducing a fourth criterion, that of identifying men active in maritime 
trading, sometimes for high profit. The standard pre-400 examples, such as Colaeus of Samos (Hdt. 
iv. 1 5 2. 1), Sostratusof Aegina (Hdt. iv.152.} with Johnston 1972 (l 8 3) and Johnston 1979 (l 85) 44, 
49, 1 89 with 240 nn. 1-2), and possibly the Anaxagores of the Berezan letter (Bravo 1977 (l i 5) = 
Bravo 1980 (l 14) 879-85), yield meagre and anecdotal results and are far from proving a structural 
change in activity. In general, Reed 1980 (l i 19) ch. 4 and (in sharp contrast of approach) Roebuck, 
CAH iv 2 446-60. 

29 Webster 1972 (1 177) 42-62, 270-300; Webster 1973 (l 140) 127-45; Starr 1977 (a 115)641!; 
Snodgrass 1980 (a 112) 126-9; Snodgrass 1983 (l 129) 18-25; Cartledge 1983 (l 21) 13^. 

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we know too little of archaic and early classical blacksmithing for its 
social position to emerge clearly. 30 

The third criterion is the most revealing, for by the early fifth century 
there was in place a network of institutions and practices which both 
reflected a degree of existing (though patchy and marginal) emancipa- 
tion of exchange from ‘political’ contexts in favour of integration across 
Greek political and social frontiers, and was to permit a much greater 
degree of such emancipation in subsequent decades. Some such practices 
were of long standing, such as the pattern of behaviour which since 
Homer had been denoted by the words emporos and emporia . 31 Even 
older, in fact if not in name, was the emporion such as Ischia or Naucratis. 
At first this comprised a port of trade outside the Greek culture area, 
settled or frequented by Greeks, but lying within the orbit of an 
established power which was able to limit and to define Greek pene- 
tration. It differed from a colony in having no formal act of foundation 
by a specific polis, in having no agricultural chora, and in involving little 
or no subordination of the indigenous population. 

However, most of the other constituents of the network were sixth- 
century innovations. Prime among them, because requiring decisions 
and investment of labour not by private persons but by states or rulers, 
were the early stages of harbour constructions and short cuts, 32 for even 
if they were undertaken for military or cultic reasons they were available 
for other purposes. So, too, the emporion proposed by the Phocaeans c. 
540 for the Oinoussai islands (Hdt. 1.165.1) would presumably have 
involved harbour installations, while mercantile purposes cannot have 
been wholly absent from the planning of Piraeus from 493/a onwards, 33 
though Thucydides’ language emphasizes its military aspect (1.93) and 
though the horoi (boundary markers) delimiting the emporion there ( IG 
i 3 1 101) appear to be as late as c. 450. Another innovation taking shape in 
this period was the use of coinage. Though few would now claim that its 
adoption throughout most of Greece in the course of the sixth century 
had anything intrinsically to do with exchange among individuals, rather 
than fiscal payments to the state and distributions or payments by the 
state for services to it, none the less the hoard evidence does suggest that 
by the late sixth century certain coinages at least, especially those of 
Athens, Macedonia and Thrace, were being used to facilitate long- 

30 Burford 1972 (l 18) passim\ Johnston 1974 (l 84); Johnston 1979 (l 85) 48—53. Contra 
Humphreys 1978 (a 66) 169 and Cartledge 1983 (l 21) itf. 

31 Knorringa 1926 (l 89); Bravo 1974 (c 122); Bravo 1977 (l 1 3); Starr 1977 (a 1 1 3) 5 5 ff; Mele 
1979 ( L 100); Velissaropoulos 1980 (l i 37); Reed 1980 (l i 19). 

32 Surveys in Blackman 1982 (l 7) and Parry 1987 (l 112). 

33 For the mercantile aspect, Boersma 1970 (i 25) 3 7f, 46—50, with Judeich 1931 (1 85) 430-56; 
Gomme, HCT 1 261-70; Martin 195 1 (1 105) 105-10; Panagos 1968 (l i i i); Garland 1987 (l 5 1). 

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distance exchange. 34 Be it said, however, that further innovation was 
required in order to supplement capital concentration via oikos- or 
patronage-relationships by more formalized, impersonal, interest-bear- 
ing loan arrangements, for only such arrangements could exploit the 
growing pool of large-value coinage fully enough to create something 
like a real money market. One of the two innovations which these 
pressures and opportunities produced, viz. the bottomry loan, was 
probably a creation of the generation after the Persian Wars, though it is 
not attested till 421 (though evidently familiar enough by then) and only 
for Athens in the fifth century. 35 It is certainly not chance that the other 
financial innovation of the mid-fifth century, which stemmed from the 
gradual though still weak monetization of Greek economies, viz. the 
bank (jpa ne^a, ‘table’), probably developed in the same period, being 
first attested, albeit by dubious evidence, in Corinth in the 460s. 
However, its function seems to have been primarily that of facilitating 
the exchange of coin of one currency or weight standard for that of 
another, and only secondarily that of accumulating and lending out 
capital sums deposited. 36 

However, a further sub-group of linked innovations, certainly under 
way in the immediate post-war period in some localities, was to have far 
more radical consequences. These innovations comprised the start of 
small-value coinages, of small-scale retail trading, of the gradual shift of 
the locus of such exchange away from the periphery towards the centre 
of the civic space of a polity, and of the consequent enlargement and 
redefinition of the function of the Agora. Each of these processes was 
patchy, long-drawn-out, and the product of different concatenations of 
circumstances. Small-value coinage, for example, took decades to move 
down from the threshold represented in early Ionian issues by the 
relatively common but still high-value 1/96 fractions of the electrum 
stater even to that represented in later Archaic Ionia and the Wappenmun- 
spn period of Attica by silver ^-obols, 37 let alone further down still. The 
first experiments with base-metal coinages (iron and bronze, cast or 
minted) at Olbia and in south Italy and Sicily do not much pre-date 450, 
though interestingly the suggestion that Athens should follow suit was 
being made before 445. 38 Yet the smaller-scale trading which such 

34 Most recent summary by K raay, CAH iv 2 , ch. 7 d, building on Cook 1958 (c 183); Kraay 1964 
(c 188); Price and Waggoner 1975 (c 196); Kraay 1976(0 190) 318-28; Kraay 1977(0 191); Grierson 

1977 (c 185). 

35 P. Oxj. 2741 = Eupolis F 192.96-8 k— a, with de Ste Croix 1974 (l 122) 44 and n. 13; Harvey 
1976 (l 66); Reed 1980 (l 119) 54# with non. 54 (dismissing earlier alleged evidence). 

36 [Them.] Ep. vi and vii, with Bogaert 1966 (l 10) 1 3 5-44 and Bogaert 1968 (l i i) 94f, 305—7. 

The word xpuoa/xoijSos: in Aesch. Ag. 437 proves - unsurprisingly — the concept formulated before 
458. 37 Kraay 1964 (c 188) 87f; Kraay 1976 (c 190) 3180. 2. 

38 Price 1968 (c 195) 94, on the assumption that Dionysius {PA 4084), to whom Callimachus (f 
430 ap. Ath. XV.669D) attributed the suggestion, did not return from Thurii. 

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coinage assisted was clearly in being well before then. Immediate proof 
comes not so much from Cyrus’ reported rude remarks, at a dramatic 
date in the 540s, about Greeks who cheat on oath while buying and 
selling in the Agora (Hdt. 1.153- I— 2 )> f° r that mot presumably stems from 
the later contrast between him as father {pater ) and Darios as petty 
retailer {kapelos, Hdt. 111.89.3); but rather from Hipponax’ use of the verb 
kapeleuein (F79.19 Degani). Yet Cyrus’ mot is historically important, for 
he is made to locate those deplorable activities ‘in the middle of the city’ 
(ev /x6ct]7 Tjj TToXei). Such a locus was new. The archaic Greek Agora as an 
open space had had political, legal, cultic, theatrical and athletic- 
competitive functions, 39 but the place for such exchange as took place 
outside the framework of social relationships seems to have lain on a 
frontier or in a no-mans’-land, whether physical, such as a seashore (cf. 
later emporia and towns called Agora (cf. Hdt. vm.58.2)), or political, 
such as the ‘frontier Agora’ from which murderers were excluded by 
Draco’s law. 40 That such exchange should enter the Agora proper - and 
in fact should end by extruding much other public activity from it, and 
by permanently altering the uses of words such as dyopd^as or ayopa 
itself - was a long-drawn-out process, not reflected in literary texts till 
Herodotus, 41 but one weighty enough in its eventual impact to yield two 
separate functionally distinct agorai at Athens, Piraeus and elsewhere. 42 

A final group of innovations returns us to the seaways, the ships and 
the seafarers. First, the late sixth and early fifth centuries saw knowledge 
about far-away places rise from the level of prodigies and fabulous tales 
to that of increasingly sober and practical descriptive treatment. 
Granted, some parts of this process were known to Greeks only at 
second hand, such as the account by a Carthaginian, the elder Hanno, of 
his circumnavigation of Africa c. 600 b.c. (Hdt. iv.42), or not at all, such 
as the younger Hanno’s report of his colonizing expedition down the 
West African coast to Senegal if not to Mt Cameroun. 43 However, 
knowledge of the Description of the Earth by the Milesian Hecataeus 
should have been well diffused by the 470s, and will have been 
supplemented by other more autobiographical travel descriptions, such 

39 McDonald 1943 (1 100) ch. 4; Martin 195 1 (1 105) 1 49fF; Wycherley 1962 (1 184) joff; Martin 
1974 (1 107) 30-47, 266—75; Kolb 1981 (1 92) 1— 19. 

40 IG i 3 104.27-8, with Davies, CAH tv 2 369 n. 7; Martin 195 1 (1 105) 284ff. Add now Peacock 
1982 (a 97) 1 j6f for comparative material. 

41 Martin 195 1 (1 105) 2 79ff; Epig. Horn, xiv.5 is undatable. Cod. Gort.— 1 1 already uses agora 
to denote the slave-market. 

42 Thessaly: Arist. Pol. vn, 133^30#. with Newman ad loc. and Xen. Cjr. 1.2. 3-5 (cAu idepal 
ayopaC). Athens: Apollodorus FGrH 244 F m 3, with Oikonomides 1962(1 1 18), Wycherley 1966 (1 
186) (sceptical); Travlos 1971 (1 171) 1; Kolb 1981 (1 92) 20-2. Piraeus: Garland 1987 (l 51) 14 if, 
15 2f. Distinct commodity markets in fourth-century Athens: Stroud 1974(0 167) 180; Sparkes 1975 
(1 156) 132. 

43 TextGGiVfi 1— 14 (Eng. tr. in Carpenter 1966 (a 1 5) 82-5); Cary and Warmington 1963 (a 18) 
6 3flf; Momigliano 1975 (a 89) 137 (probably 500-450); full discussion in Huss 1985 (a 68) 75-83. 

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as Skylax’ account of his voyage from the Indies to Suez, and possibly 
also by Euthymenes of Massilia’s earlier account of the African coast or 
by whatever lay behind the western Mediterranean portion of Avienus’ 
Ora maritima , 44 Secondly, shipbuilding had shown a radical change in the 
generation before 480, with a real and major divergence between 
warship and merchantman. The two had long been distinguished as 
much by the presence or absence of a beak as by shape, so that 
Herodotus’ report that the Phocaeans used to make their western 
Mediterranean voyages in pentekonters, not in round ships (11.163. 1—2), 
is less odd than it appears, given the likely dangers from Etruscan or 
Carthaginian warships or pirates. That that expedient was unsatisfactory 
is suggested by the invention of the ‘samaina’, ‘which has a beak turned 
up like a pig’s snout, but is rounder and belly-shaped, so that it can both 
carry cargo and sail swiftly. It was so called because it appeared first in 
Samos, on the initiative of Polykrates the tyrant’ (Plut.Pifr. 26.4). The 
idea presumably was to have it both ways, by increasing cargo space 
without sacrificing offensive capability, but that the risk-benefit balance 
was tipping even further towards larger capacity and smaller crew is 
clear from the development by the 5 20s of the merchant ship propelled 
entirely by sail. 45 It is no accident that such a ship type would have best 
suited the lengthy round trips from the Aegean to the Black Sea and 
back, which were to become (if they were not already) a prime 
component of Classical Greek seaborne trade and for which the essential 
staging posts were mostly in place by then. 46 Teus plainly was not the 
only place to be permanently dependent on imported grain by c. 470 
(M— L 30A). Such trips are evidence of that profound revolution in the 
logistics of antiquity which comprised moving a staple food supply to its 
consumers at an acceptable social price instead of moving them to it 
through colonization. As later in Rome and Constantinople, so now in 
the Aegean and probably at Carthage too, the political consequences of 
that revolution were to overwhelm household autarky, to involve the 
state in the process, and hence to help both to define the shape and to 
broaden the scope of the public economy. Slowly, jerkily, and via a 
process responding to need but mostly flowing outside the political 
framework, the single loosely inter-related economic system, which the 
Greek world and some of its non-Greek neighbours had long been for 

44 Euthymenes: FHG xv 409, with Hdt. 11.22, if it is not a forger’s version of the younger Hanno. 
Avienus: Hind 1972 (l 67); Boardman 1980 (a 6) 224. 

45 First secure attestation on the Attic black-figure cup, London BM b 436; reproduction and/or 
discussion inCasson 195 9 (a 19) 86— 7 and pi. 7; Morrison and Williams 1968 (a 91) 109 Arch. 85 and 
pi. 19; Casson 1971 (a 20) figs. 81—2; de Ste Croix 1972 (g 36) 393-6; Humphreys 1978 (a 66) i68f, 
1 71; Snodgrass 1983 (l 129) 1 6f. 

46 Hdt. vh . 147.2, with Noonan 1973 (l 104); Davies 1978 (a 23) 58; Bravo 1983 (l 1 5). Scepticism 
in Garnsey 1985 (l 53) and Garnsey 1988 (l 54) 107-19. 

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certain marginal purposes, was being expanded to take in an even greater 
proportion of flows, transactions and commodities. 


Developments of a rather different kind were affecting the public, 
intellectual, and social life of the 470s and were exposing the strains and 
contradictions inherent in the very institution which had shaped Greek 
political life for so long, the republican polis. They affected alike its form, 
its inner dynamics, and its external relationships, and interacted so 
closely with the economic shifts just described as to erode the presuppo- 
sitions of value and function which had underpinned it since the eighth 

To diagnose crisis, at a moment when the Persian Wars had just been 
fought in defence of and in terms of the polis and when their outcome 
had to all appearance vindicated it as a system of government, may seem 
as paradoxical as it is unconventional. Indeed, at first sight it is the 
consolidation of the polis-form of polity in the 470s which strikes the eye 
rather than its erosion. For one thing, tyranny, monarchy and dynasteiai 
(narrow oligarchies) were on the retreat. Even before the Persian Wars 
many had succumbed to that pressure for wider participation in decision 
making, and thereby for greater equality between ruler and ruled, which 
had come to be labelled isonomia , 47 In the post-war period the fact that 
many such regimes, such as those in Thessaly or Thebes, 48 had been pro- 
Persian helped to quicken the rout, especially in the vulnerable areas of 
Asia Minor and Propontis, where the Athenians had a compounded 
interest in eliminating them. 49 However, the same process was under 
way from purely internal impulses in Cyrene, where the Battiad 
monarchy was overthrown by a democracy sometime after 460, 50 in 
Sicily, where by the late 460s the Deinomenid regime had been 
dismantled and the republican status quo restored (Diod. xi. 76.4-6) (see 
chapter 7), and even in Epirus if Thucydides’ note on the Chaones and 
Thesproti as kingless in 430 (11.80.5) has significance. In the Greek- 
speaking area indeed, only Sparta, Molossia, Macedonia and Cyprus had 
monarchies deep-rooted enough to survive the egalitarian winds of the 
fifth century. 

Fashionable instead were the various processes loosely called synoe- 
cism. 51 The use of the term in Greek sources is unhelpfully elastic, 

41 Ostwald 1969(064). 48 Forrest, CAHiu 3 . 3, 291-9. 

49 See the survey in Berve 1967 (a 5) 1 186-9. 

50 Schol. Pind. Pjtb. iv inscr. b, and Arise, fr. 61 1.7, with Chamoux 1953 (f 17) 202-10; Mitchell 
1966 (f 51) 108—13; Hornblower 1983 (a 65) 58-62. 

51 Kuhn 1878 (f 40), still valuable; Kahrstedt 1932 (f 38); Moggi 1976 (f 5 3); Hornblower 1982 (a 
64) 78. 

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ranging for this period alone from (i) joint foundation of colonies 
through (ii) the forcible transfer of population, (iii) imposed amalgama- 
tion, (iv) the creation of an urban centre, and (v) the creation of a political 
central place, to (vi) annexation. 52 To such uses, moreover, one may add 
not only examples which are inferred rather than directly attested, 53 but 
also (with reservations) federal structures such as the Arcadian League. 
The boundaries of the phenomenon are therefore not closely definable. 
None the less the early fifth century does appear to have experienced a 
clear shift of mood towards amalgamating political units or towards 
unifying areas which had hitherto been little more than ethnic or 
geographical expressions and had no one political central place. Gelon’s 
creation of a Greater Syracuse in the 480s exemplifies the former, while 
the synoecisms of Elis, Mantineia and Tegea in the 470s may exemplify 
the latter to varying degrees. 54 

To the extension of polis-style government and the extension of 
participation in its processes may be added the extension of its role and 
responsibilities. This took various forms. It is clear, for example, in the 
area of cult, where the late Archaic period had seen religion and the state 
redefine themselves and their function in ways which subtly but 
significantly favoured the state. 55 So, too, the state’s power to coerce 
recalcitrant members was slowly advancing. At the social level, though 
the drastic and unparalleled inculcation of social values and skills, which 
was encapsulated in the Spartan agoge, had not yet become the social 
paradigm elsewhere in Greece that it was to become by the 420s, 56 
Athens at least may already have been developing more formal means of 
control over public order and pirate action; the first employment of a 
corps of Scythian archers as a police force may belong in this period, 57 
while the capacity to prosecute was being extended, via a process 
impossible to date or to trace in detail, to a wider range of persons and to 
a wider range of offences. 58 At the political level the prosecutions of 
Miltiades in 493 and 489, the Athenian ostracisms of the 480s, the 
imitation of ostracism elsewhere, 59 or the various legal or quasi-legal 
actions successfully mounted against no fewer than three Spartan kings 

52 Respectively (i) Thuc. 1.24.2, vi.z.6 etc., with Moggi 1975 (f 52); (ii) Hdt. vn.156; (iii) Str. 
viii. 3. 20, with Moggi i976(f 53) 166 no. 26; (iv) Thuc. 1.10.2; (v) LSS 10. col. ii, with Parke 1977(1^ 
71) 31 and Hornblower 1982 (a 64) 790. 9; (vi) Paus. vm.27.1, with Moggi 1976 (f 53) 127 no. 22. 

53 E.g. Olbia and Berezan (Graham 1978 (f 27) 106), or the Mesa ra plain in Crete (Kirsten 195 6 (a 

73) * i°)- 

34 Thus orthodoxy (e.g. Moggi 1976^55) 13 iff nos. 23-5), but there is room for doubt (below, 
p. 103). 55 Davies, CAH iv 2 368—88. 

56 Ollier 1933 (f 55) 42—54, 1 19-38; Tigerstadt 1965 (f 68); Rawson 1969 (a 104) i2ff; Hodkinson 
1983 (f 30) 245 ff, with earlier references. 

57 Andoc. rrr.5 and Aeschin. rr. 173, with Plassart 1913 (o 68) and Vos 1963 (r 173). 

58 Mainly by th egraphe procedure, but also by apagoge and endeixir. Hansen 1976 (d 30A) 1 1 5. 

59 Schoi. Ar. Knights 855; Diod. xi. 86. 5—87.6. 

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within fifteen years, all suggest that public opinion was willing to create 
and to use formal procedures (rather than acquiescence or assassination) 
against errant politicians in a way barely conceivable fifty years 

At the fiscal level, too, increased pressure must be assumed, for even 
though misthos (pay) for public office lay nearly a generation in the future, 
even at Athens, new needs were outstripping older modes of public 
finance. There had of course long been tithes, fines and confiscations, 
while the linkage between socio-economic ranking and the responsibi- 
lity to contribute, militarily or otherwise, to the needs of the state, which 
was encapsulated in the barely translatable word telos (property /obli- 
gation group ), 60 re-emerged with the four Solonian property-classes 
( Ath.Pol . 7.3), and survived to provide the background to oligarchic 
notions of distributive justice. So, too, communities had long assigned a 
temenos (precinct) to a god or an official on the understanding that its 
produce or revenues would defray the expenses of cult or office. Yet the 
often morally dubious fiscal improvisations attributed to sixth-century 
tyrants in [Aristotle]’s Oeconomica 11 and elsewhere were already symp- 
toms of strain, and one military innovation in particular - the trireme - 
must have generated further and greater pressures. By our period its 
impact on Greek public finance was being felt all over the Aegean, and if 
Herodotus’ terminology can be trusted it had yielded by the early fifth 
century a uniform solution in the form of the trierarchy. Attested at 
Samos in 494 (Hdt. vi.14.2) and at Aegina, Naxos and elsewhere (Hdt. 
vii.i8i.i, vm.46.3, viii. 90.4) as well as Athens in 480, this fiscal 
expedient reflected the new relationship imposed by the necessity for the 
state to meet the capital cost of the hulls . 61 Part magistracy, part an 
extended telos- type obligation, part aristocratic euergetism, it cleverly 
accommodated the new fiscal interests of the state within the archaic 
value-framework of time (prestige) and charis (obligation ). 62 Much the 
same is true for the other form of leitourgia or public service, viz. that 
concerned with the provision of spectacles and contests during religious 
festivals, which appeared in its fully developed form first in Athens with 
the choregia in 502/1 and speedily proliferated there, though unlike the 
trierarchy it seems to have been slow to spread elsewhere . 63 

To some such pressures, then, some Greek communities could and 
did respond from the early fifth century on by extending and adapting 

60 Van Effenterre 1979 (l 135) 27ft is now the point of departure; add (on its likely Mycenaean 
ancestry in / teretaf or j/erejaf) Baumbach 1968 (c 1 1 5) 2 37ff and Gschnitzer 1981 (l 63) 19#. 

61 A vestige of the older system of privately built hulls at Hdt. vm.17. 

62 Veyne 1976 (a 120) 186-200; Davies 1981 (d 18) 92—105. 

63 Capps 1943 (c 125); Davies 1967(0 17). The word chorcgos at Hdt. v.83.3 (Aegina) and Arist. 
Pol. vm, 1341333 (Sparta) probably has its intrinsic meaning 'chorus-leader’, as in Aleman’s 
Partfxneion (line 44 Page). 

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3 ° 


the polis and its governmental mechanisms. Yet — and herein lies the 
basic paradox — the more the polis increased and consolidated its role in 
Greek society, the more it encountered contradictions which could not 
be resolved within that polis framework. The main contradiction was 
military. Thessaly, for example, was to see in the fifth century a hitherto 
effective mechanism for unifying military resourced on land eroded by 
separatist pressure from the growing individual poleis. 64 Maritime 
polities faced the opposite pressure. Thucydides is explicit that the costs 
of triremes and trierarchies bore heavily on the Athenian allies and 
induced many of them (he implies in the 460s) to commute ship 
contributions to the payment of tribute (1.99). Thucydides sees this 
within a context of their capacity or incapacity to revolt, but it has wider 
implications; the logic of contemporary naval technology was dividing 
Greek states into two classes, those who could and those who could not 
keep up with the costs. 

The effect was compounded by international pressures. In the West, 
where polis-particularism had shallower roots than in Old Greece and 
where self-identification as ‘Ionian’ or as ‘Dorian’ provided an alterna- 
tive exploitable focus, Carthaginian encroachment provided reason - or 
excuse - first for tightly interlocking dynastic connexions and later for so 
enlarging the polis, by forcible amalgamations and transfers of popula- 
tion, that Greater Syracuse by 480 was no longer a polis but a territorial 
state. Likewise the dwarf states of Old Greece had been dragged willy- 
nilly back into the concert of eastern Mediterranean powers by half a 
century of Persian invasions. As in 546 and 499, so too in 491 and 481 
resistance had entailed cooperation and alliance, for no one polis by itself 
could survive militarily in such an environment, while the successive 
decisions taken by the Aegean seaboard states at Samos in 479, 
Byzantium in 478 and Delos in 477 had indicated that here too, as in the 
Peloponnese, military activity would take place for the foreseeable 
future within the framework of a regional hegemony. The contradiction 
was fundamental. The polis as a military unit on its own was dead, while 
the polis as an administrative and cultural unit was not. 

That by itself would have been enough to constitute a fifth-century 
crisis, but other contradictions and tensions in post-war Greek society 
made it worse. For example, the more the polis extended its range of 
activity, and opened its polity or even its magistracies to all citizens, the 
more anomalous became the position of those whose activities put them 
without the city framework. Seers ( manteis ) and their more disreputable 
confreres, the chresmologoi and shamans, were a case in point, as shown by 
the way the Spartans had to break all their own rules in order to 

64 Hornblower 1983 (a 6j) 79-83; Kraay 1976 (c 190) iij— 17. 

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accommodate the talents of Teisamenos of Elis. 65 So were poets and 
artists such as Bacchylides or Polygnotus or Alcamenes, who moved 
from commission to commission. So too were the many Aegean 
islanders who rowed more and more Athenian ships as commutation 
gathered pace — mercenaries in all but name. 66 So, too, were the sea- 
traders ( emporoi and nauklerot), whose economic role might well come to 
be central to the existence of the very cities which had no control over 
them and within which they had no intrinsic legal standing. 67 

A second, closely allied, contradiction was that presented by chattel 
slavery in the household, in craftwork, in mining and in agriculture. The 
problem here was not so much that presented by the conceptual conflict 
between slave as instrument and slave as human being, which Aristotle 
later found so intractable {Pol. 1253b 2yff), nor even the conflict between 
slavery as an efficient (because mobile and controllable) means of 
concentrating a labour force for productive or display purposes and 
slavery as intrinsically inefficient, because goodwill and cooperation 
could not be extracted from a structurally alienated workforce. 68 Rather, 
the problem arose from the presence, within a polis and its chora, of a 
growing (it seems) number of deracines of alien speech and culture, 
whose labour was necessary (or highly desirable) but whose presence 
was potentially dangerous, whose immediate ambitions for freedom and 
wealth challenged the very roots of a descent-group-defined agrarian 
society, and whose life-style, if ‘living apart’ from their masters as 
money-making investments for the latter, might differ so little from that 
of poor citizens as to present status contradictions of their own. 

A third tension, visible in the literature and thought of the 470s, is that 
between, on the one hand, paradigms of the world couched in terms of 
myth and, on the other, systematic non-theistic descriptions of the world 
and of man’s predicament based either on observation or on the primacy 
of reasoned argument as the way to truth. It was precisely because the 
Hesiodic tradition, best represented in this decade by Pindar, was 
challenged equally strongly from two basically incompatible directions, 
that Greek intellectual life, not (so far as one can see) hitherto greatly 
fractured or discordant or at loggerheads with political life as such (which 
is not to say that poets might not be fiercely partisan or denunciatory), 
now began to show increasing alienation from the traditional framework 
of Greek political, social and cultural life. Already in the previous 
generation Xenophanes had been caustically questioning the point of 

65 Hdt. ix. $3-6, with Kett 1966 (k 50); Nilsson 1967 (k 69) 618— 20; Burkert 1977 (k 13)20. 

66 On whom Roy 1967 (a 107) 322. 

67 de Stc Croix 1972 (g 36) 264—7, 393—6; Van Effentcrrc 1979 (l i 36); Reed 1981 (l 1 19) passim. 

68 Thus Vernant 1974 (a 1 18) 29. 

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3 2 


athletic victories and other aristocratic values. Heraclitus in his idiosyn- 
cratic way had more recently followed suit, while the Pythagoreans in 
south Italy were making their Freemason-style groups the main focus of 
social life, and more and more intellectuals were moving away from their 
own cities to where the action was. 69 

A fourth source of tension is identified - or caricatured - after the 
event by the Old Oligarch: ‘the demos has put down the athletes at 
Athens and the practitioners of mousike’ ([Xen.] Atb.Pol. 1.13). Prepos- 
terous at first sight in the century of Sophocles, his allegation is echoed 
and expanded, at least for music proper, by Plato (Laws 111,700-1) and 
has some truth. The Archaic period had seen the emergence, and 
differentiation from a continuing peasant society, of an upper-class 
cultural and behavioural norm. It was multiply characterized: by affected 
ostentation in dress; by social contacts and intermarriage across political 
frontiers; by ritualized conflict and competition at the Panhellenic 
Games and elsewhere; by institutions of restricted membership such as 
the palaistra or the symposion with their accompanying etiquette and 
social prestige; by being both the locus and the focus of predominant art 
forms such as dithyrambic, lyric, or elegiac poetry, the kouros statue, or 
elegant table-ware in silver or fine pottery; by pederasty; by the specific 
vogue-words kalos kagathos (perhaps ‘gentleman’) and asteios (urban, 
witty); and by the gravitation of those involved and of their activities 
away from the chora of the gauche unaccomplished country bumpkin 
with his sheepskin cloak towards the nucleated polis with its ‘polite’ 
atmosphere. 70 This high urbane sub-culture of Archaic Greece was now 
subject to erosion — or rather was so attractive as to generate pressure to 
extend it down the social scale. The sudden emergence of formal schools 
in the 490s, even in such remote places as Astypalaea, is one symptom of 
pressure. 71 Another is the break-up of the formal frontal kouros- pose in 
sculpture from c. 480 onwards in favour of the sort of representation of 
action or of heroic archetype which had already long come to predomi- 
nate in the much cheaper and therefore less aristocratic bronze or 
terracotta statuettes. A third is the amalgamation of upper-class lyric 
with the significantly out-of-town bucolic Dionysiac ritual of the komos 
and the tragos, in order to produce the upstart, hybrid (if not bastard), 
vulgarly spectacular art forms of comedy and tragedy which appealed to 
a mass audience newly culturally enfranchised and which put other 
poetic art forms in the shade. 

69 Xenophanes D-K b z; Heraclitus D-K b 1 5. Sec Ostwald, ch.8^ below. 

70 Various aspects of this general picture in Gschnitzer 1981 (l 63) 6ofF, 1 z6ff; Roebuck, CAH 
m 2 . 3, 438—41; Lloyd 1983 (a 79); Bowie 1986 (j 5). 

71 Paus. vi. 9. 6, with other references in Marrou 1956 (a 84) 369 n. 7; Immerwahr 1964 (1 79); 
Harvey 1966 (l 65) 629-35; Giroux 1980 (l 59). 

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To these areas of difficulty we can add others, such as the tension in 
state after state between an existing polity based on subordination - 
whether by serfdom, helotization, or the control of non-participant 
outlying communities by a dominant centre - and an ideal polity based, 
like most colonies, on equality and likeness (iirl ta~Q * at ' ofiotq.). The 
picture which emerges is of a post-war Greece in the grip of what was at 
best uncomfortable transition in many fields of social activity at once, if 
not of acute crisis. That is not a conventional view of the early fifth 
century, but the case stands. 

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It is unlikely that the Greeks who fought against the Persians at Plataea 
in 479 entered into any commitment relevant to this chapter. There may 
well be authentic material behind the various texts of an oath said to have 
been sworn before the battle (Tod, GHI 204, 21-5 1; Lycurg. Leoc. 80-1; 
Diod. xi. 29. z— 3: Theopomp. FGrH 1 1 5 f i 5 3 rejected it as an Athenian 
fabrication), but the clause requiring temples destroyed by the Persians 
to be left in ruins does not appear in the inscribed version and is hard to 
accept. 1 After the battle the Plataeans were promised freedom from 
attack on condition that they cared for the graves of the fallen (Thuc. 
11.72, 111.58.4), but the Greek festival of freedom appears to be a 
Hellenistic institution, and Plutarch’s combination with this of a Greek 
force to wage war against the barbarian is unlikely to represent a decision 
taken after Plataea (Diod. xi.29.1; Plut. Arist. 21. 1-2). 2 

However, if we may believe Herodotus, the question of carrying the 
war back to Persian territory and liberating Greeks under Persian rule 
was raised in 480—479. Thoughts of the future attributed to Themisto- 
cles (vm. 108.4, 109.5) may be suspect, but there is no need to doubt the 
envoys appealing for the liberation of Ionia early in 479 (vm . 1 3 2), or the 
futher appeal from Samos later in the year (ix.90). After the battle of 
Mycale, we are told, the Greeks considered abandoning Ionia and giving 
the lonians new homes in Greece: the proposal was supported by the 
Peloponnesians, but successfully resisted by the Athenians, who claimed 
a special relationship with the lonians; after which Samos, Chios, Lesbos 
and ‘the other islanders who were campaigning along with the Greeks’ 

This chapter, written at short notice in 1985/6, gives an argued narrative based on the review of 
problems by Rhodes 1985 (e 68). Major works for the whole of this chapter are Meritt*/ al. 1939—5 3 
(e 5 5), Meiggs 1972 (e 5 3). These will be cited as ATL and Meiggs respectively. 

1 The clause is accepted by Dinsmoor 1941 (1 59) 158 n. 322; Raubitschek 1965 (c 163) 516—18; 
Meiggs 504—7; and (though he finds several examples of its breach) Boersma 1970 (1 23) 50-1, etc. It 
is rejected by Siewert 1972 (f 65) 102-8. Cf. CAH iv 2 604, 

2 There are attempts to defend part of this by Larsen 1933 (F42) 262-4, Raubitschek i960 (a 102) 
and 1965(0 163), Meiggs 507— 8. For the arguments against, see ATL in 101— 4; Brunt J95 3— 4 (a 10) 
153—6; Frost 1961 (c 35); Etienne and Pierart 1975 (c 131). 


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(but not, it appears, any mainlanders) were admitted to the Greek 
alliance (ix. 106). 

Herodotus has conditioned us to thinking of the Persian Wars as 
ending in 479, but the Greeks could not be certain at that point that the 
Persians would not attack again, and it should cause no surprise that in 
478 the Spartan-led Greek alliance continued the war— on a smaller scale, 
because there was no longer an immediate threat to Greece. Pausanias, 
who had commanded on land in 479, took command of the fleet; and it 
may have been in the same year that Leotychidas, commander of the fleet 
in 479, took a land expedition to punish medizers in Thessaly (Hdt. 
vi. 71). 3 Pausanias first sailed out of the Aegean and overran most of 
Cyprus (to which the Persian fleet had perhaps withdrawn), then made 
for the Bosporus and drove the Persians out of Byzantium (Thuc. r.94): 
this was anti-Persian action, not pro-Ionian. But, though he had laughed 
at Persian grandeur after Plataea (Hdt. ix.82), power now went to his 
head, and his arrogance and severity offended the allies. Thucydides is 
convinced that he was also guilty of medism; but when recalled to Sparta 
he was acquitted on that charge; he was not in Byzantium long enough to 
send and receive the letters which Thucydides quotes, and there is no 
reason why after his victories over the Persians he should at this point 
have begun to collude with them (Thuc. 1.95, 128.4— 130). 4 

Reports reached Sparta, and Pausanias was recalled; by the time 
Dorcis had arrived as his successor, the leadership had been taken over 
by the Athenians. Not only Sparta but the other Peloponnesians, and 
Aegina, which could hardly be expected to submit to Athenian leader- 
ship, 5 remained outside the new League. Athens had supported the 
Ionians at the beginning (but only at the beginning) of their revolt 
against Persia in 498;° she had opposed the Peloponnesians’ proposal to 
transport the Ionians to Greece; and at the end of 479 she had led a 
campaign against Sestos after the Peloponnesian contingents had 
returned home (Hdt. tx. 1 14-21, cf. Thuc. 1.89.2). She had by far the 
largest navy of any Greek state. There is thus nothing surprising in 
Athenian leadership for the kind of war that could be expected. 

According to Thucydides, the allies took the initiative and pressed the 
leadership on Athens (1.95. 1—2, cf. 75.2), but other texts ascribe the 
initiative to Athens (Hdt. vm.3.2; Ath. Pol. 23.4). It may not have been 
clear who had first made the suggestion, but there must have been 
willingness on both sides. The Ionian Revolt, with no strong leader, had 
ended in disaster, while in mainland Greece Sparta had built up in the 

3 Cf. pp. 97, 499, where a slightly later date is considered. 

4 See especially Lippold 1965 (P46); Fornara 1966 (f 25) 265— 5; Lang 1967/8 (f 41); Rhodes 1970 
(c 82) 387 — 90; Blamire 1970 (f 6) 296-8; Lazenby 1975 (f 44) 235-8. 

5 Cf. CAH iv 2 339-40, 365-7. 6 Cf. CAH iv 2 482-3. 

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36 3 - THE DELIAN LEAGUE TO 449 B. C. 

Peloponnesian League a strong alliance which had not noticeably 
diminished its members’ freedom, and the larger union under Spartan 
leadership of nearly all the southern Greeks had succeeded in repelling 
the Persian invasion. The prospect of a strong leader must have been 
attractive to the eastern Greeks, and after the Ionian Revolt the chief 
danger to be feared from Athens must have seemed not that she would 
wield too much power over her allies but that she would not persevere in 
what was their cause more than hers: the permanent nature of the alliance 
(below) may have been seen as binding Athens rather than the allies. So 
in 478/7 ( Ath . Pol. 23.5; Diod. xi.47 7 narrates it under 477/6) a new 
alliance was formed. 

For the organization of the League we are largely dependent on two 
tantalizing chapters of Thucydides (1.96—7). The objective, clearly, was 
in some sense to continue the war against Persia. Thucydides writes that 
‘the pretext [proschema , in contrast with the aims which Athens came to 
pursue 8 ] was to obtain revenge for what they had suffered by ravaging 
the King’s land’ (1.96.1). Technically what was formed was a full 
offensive and defensive alliance, intended to last until lumps of metal 
rose from the bottom of the sea [Ath. Pol. 23.5), and although 
Thucydides does not mention the freedom of the Greeks here he does so 
elsewhere (m.10.3, vi.76.3-4): we have seen that the idea was mooted in 
479, and we need not doubt that that was part of the reason for the 
formation of a permanent alliance against the Persians. 9 

How large the League is likely to have been at its foundation depends 
partly on how much enthusiasm for war against Persia can be postulated 
among the states of the Aegean, partly on how we interpret the word 
‘Ionian’ in Hdt. ix.104, Thuc. 1.89.2, 95.1, and Ath. Pol. 23.4—5. Some 
have wanted to take ‘Ionian’ strictly, as referring to the eastern states 
which belonged to the Ionian strand of the Greek people and shared in 
the Panionion, but the founder members must have included at any rate 
the Aeolian states of Lesbos (Hdt. ix.106) and Dorian Byzantium. 
Persia’s settlement after the Ionian Revolt had been mild (Hdt. vi.42— 3), 
and it seems not to have been so strongly thought up to the time of the 
Persian Wars as it came to be afterwards that Greeks and barbarians were 
fundamentally different; but the eastern Greeks had not submitted to 
Persia enthusiastically (cf. Hdt. 1. 1 4 1 , 15 2—3), and we may assume that as 
long as the chances of success seemed good many will have welcomed a 

7 On Diodorus' dates see p. 7. 

8 Cf. Rawlings 1977 (e 66). French 1979 (e 29) denies the contrast, but it should be accepted. 
Athens may not have had ulterior motives from the beginning, but she soon found ways of using the 
League to her own advantage, and by the third quarter of the century was openly treating the 
League as an Athenian empire. 

9 Sealey 1966 (e 82) limits the original objective of the League to raiding for booty, but see 
Jackson 1969 (e 37), Meiggs 462-4. The theme of retaliation is stressed by Raaflaub 1979 (e 65). 

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continuing war against Persia. The League should have attracted a fair 
number of members from the outset. 10 

There was to be a treasury on Delos, and meetings of the allies were to 
be held there (Thuc. 1.96.2); hence the modern name for the alliance, the 
Delian League. Delos with its sanctuary of Apollo was important to the 
Ionians in the strict sense of that term (Thuc. 111.104). Originally the 
dominant influence there had been that of Naxos; an Athenian interest 
had been shown by the sixth-century tyrant Pisistratus, who had 
‘purified’ Delos by removing graves from the area of the sanctuary (Hdt. 
1.64.2; Thuc. hi. 104. 1). 11 The use of the term ‘Ionians’ with reference to 
a League whose members included eastern Greeks of all strands is thus 
not just an accident of our sources: at its foundation the League was 
represented as an Ionian league (which may have helped to justify 
Athens’ leadership and make it acceptable to Sparta), and eastern Greeks 
of other kinds were assimilated to the Ionians. 

Some allies were to provide ships, others were to make payments in 
cash (phoros , usually translated ‘tribute’). According to Thucydides the 
Athenians decided which members should contribute in which way and 
provided the financial officials [hellenotamiai , Greek treasurers), and the 
total tribute was originally assessed at 460 talents, presumably per 
annum (1.96). Athens provided the commanders of League expeditions, 
and it should not surprise us that she also provided the League 
treasurers : 12 if the alliance was to be effective, the leader needed to be able 
to exercise her leadership, and to do so over all the allies, those which 
paid tribute as well as those which sent their own ships. (The members 
were partners in a full alliance, and it should not be supposed that a 
tribute-payer could discharge its full obligation by making its annual 
payment: the leader could require soldiers from all the allies, and was to 
do so in Greece in the 450s. 13 ) The first assessment of contributions is 
elsewhere attributed to the Athenian Aristides ( Ath . Pol. 23.5; Plut. 
Arist. 24, cf. Thuc. v.18.5), and deciding the form of individual 
contributions will no doubt have formed part of that exercise. It has 
sometimes been thought that for the cities to which it applied Aristides 
took over the assessment made by Artaphernes at the end of the Ionian 
Revolt, but this implication should not be read into Hdt. vi.42, and it 
appears that Artaphernes considered agricultural land only but the 
Athenians took into account other forms of wealth. 14 

,0 See, for a small League at the beginning, Walker, CAH v 1 42-4; Highby 1936 (e 35) 39-57; 
Sealey 1966 (e 82) 243-4; cf. (fora strict interpretation of ‘Ionians’) Hammond 1967 (e 33)43-7 (= a 
54, 315-21). A large League is preferred by Gomme, HCT 1 289-95, cf. 257, 271-2; ATL nr 194- 
224; Meiggs 50-8. 11 Cf. CAH in 2 .}, 403. 

12 But Woodhead 1959 (E95) suggested that at first the treasurers were appointed by the League. 

13 Cf. p. 1 14. 

14 Cf. Murray 1966 (a 93). Evans 1976 (a 35) argues that Aristides did use Artaphernes’ land 
survey as his basis. 

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The scale of the first assessment is notoriously problematic. Thucy- 
dides gives a total of 460 talents, in language suggesting that that was the 
amount contributed by payers of tribute; yet the evidence of the tribute 
quota-lists indicates that in the late 450s, when the League had more 
members, and more tribute-paying members, the total assessment was 
only c. 500 talents. Similarly, Thuc. 11.13.3 states that the total tribute in 
431 was 600 talents, but the quota-lists for the late 430s point to an 
assessment of c. 430 talents. 15 Various solutions have been attempted. 16 
The one assessment list which we know in detail, that of 425, is an 
extremely optimistic list, 17 and it may be that Thucydides’ 460 talents is 
derived from an optimistic list covering not only the states which did 
join the League at the beginning but all which Athens hoped would join. 
This list will have covered both tribute-payers and (perhaps at the rate of 
one ship for 1 talent) ship-providers: only a large state could afford the 
manpower to contribute several ships for a campaigning season every 
year, and it has been estimated that more than half of the likely members 
of the League could not regularly provide even one trireme, and only 1 5 
per cent could regularly provide more than two. 18 Even if Thucydides’ 
figure is artificially high, the first assessment is problematic in another 
way too. We do not know how large were the forces with which the 
League campaigned, or for how long a season (Plut. Per. 1 1.4 refers to 
sixty ships sent out for eight months, but we do not know of which 
period, if any, this is true), but if Athens, though not assessed for tribute, 
made a substantial contribution from her own resources, it is hard to 
think that large sums would need to be spent from the tribute — and a 
papyrus fragment may tell us that 5,000 talents had accumulated in the 
League’s treasury by the middle of the century. 19 Later a proportion of 
the tribute was given as an offering to Athena in Athens, and at first we 
may assume that a proportion was given to Apollo on Delos: work on a 
new temple there was begun in the second quarter of the fifth century, 
and was abandoned about the middle of the century, when the League’s 
treasury had been removed to Athens. 20 

Thucydides says that the allies ‘at first were autonomous and deliber- 
ated in common councils’ (1.97. 1); he goes on to mention cases in which 

15 For the figures calculated from the tribute quota-lists see Meiggs 62—3 with 63 n. 1, 327; it is 
arguable that the figure for the late 450s, which assumes that all members except Lesbos, Chios and 
Samos had become tribute-payers, is slightly too low. Thucydides’ figures recur in Plut. Arist. 24.4, 
but Diod. xi. 47. 1, xii. 40. 2, has different figures. 

16 See Walker, CAH v 1 44—6; Gomme, HCT 1 273-9; in 236-43; Chambers 1958 (e 15); 

Eddy 1968 (e 18); Meiggs 58—67; French 1972 (e 28); Unz 1985 (e 86). 

17 1 G 1 3 71; see pp. 420-1. 

18 Ruschenbusch 1983 (e 73-74). Eddy 1968 (e 18) suggested that 1 talent was reckoned as 

equivalent to one ship; various questions concerning contributions of ships are discussed by 
Blackman 1969 (e 10). 19 Cf. pp. 126 n. 26. 

20 See Courby 1931 (1 54) 1-106, summarized by Bruneau and Ducat 1965 (i 32) 84-5 no. 13. 

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Athens infringed the autonomy of the allies, and the councils reappear 
only in a speech in which the Mytilenaeans say that at first Athens ‘led on 
a basis of equality’, and refer to the many votes (poljpsephia) of the allies 
and to the allies’ being ‘equal in votes’ ( isopsephoi ) to Athens (hi. 10.4—5, 
1 1.4). Probably there was a single council, in which Athens had one vote 
along with every other member; 21 and probably by the middle of the 
century the council had ceased to meet. 22 Originally, we must assume, 
Athens and the allies sent their forces and their representatives on the 
council to Delos each spring, and the plan of campaign for the year was 
decided then. Athens, as the leader providing the commander and the 
largest number of ships, had a virtual veto, as she could hardly be made 
to undertake a campaign which she did not want; but it would be 
difficult for her to campaign with reluctant allies, and an ally with strong 
objections might refuse to serve in a campaign of which she disap- 
proved, as Corinth had deserted Sparta c. 506 (Hdt. v.75). 23 In 459 the 
decision to fight in Egypt seems to have been taken neither in the 
member cities nor at the regular council but by the commanders of the 
forces which had gone to Cyprus (p.52). Probably it was not thought 
necessary at the outset to stipulate that the members were to be 
autonomous: the word a vrovofios is first attested in 441 (Soph. Ant. 821, 
already metaphorical), and it has been suggested that it was coined with 
reference to the kind of freedom which the members of the League found 
to be increasingly at risk and became anxious to retain. 24 

The Second Athenian League, founded in 378 to resist Spartan 
imperialism, was in many respects differently organized. 25 It was based 
on a purely defensive alliance. There was a council of allies in permanent 
session in Athens, with its own presidential apparatus, which performed 
a probouleutic function in parallel with the Athenian boule, while the 
Athenian Assembly had the last word (but presumably could not commit 
the allies against their will). Athens promised in general terms to respect 
the freedom and autonomy of the allies, and in particular not to do 
various things which she had come to do during the history of the Delian 
League. One of those promises was not to collect phoros : before long 
Athens did resort to collecting ‘contributions’ ( sjntaxeis ), but the sums 
involved were not large, and the little evidence that we have suggests 
that the assessment, collection and spending of the money were not left 

21 Glotz 1958 (a 47) 1 1 5; Larsen 1940 (e 59); ATL in 227; Meiggs 460-2; Culham 1978 (e 16). But 
some have argued that in the Delian League as in the Peloponnesian League a council of allies 
excluding the leading state counterbalanced the leader: Walker, CAM v 1 40-1; Hammond 1967 (e 
33) = a 54, 31 1-45; de Ste Croix 1972 (g 36) 298-307. 

22 Cf. below, pp. 55-6. 23 Cf. CAH iv 2 308, 361. 

24 Ostwald 1982 (a 95); Karavites 1982 (a 71). It was suggested in ATL in 228 that members’ 
autonomy was guaranteed at the foundation of the League, but Meiggs 46 doubts if the question 
arose then. 

25 Cf. CAM vi 2 , ch. 7. The most important text is IG n 2 43 = Tod, GHJ 123. 

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entirely to Athens. In the Second League Athens did not only have to 
live down the reputation of the Delian League: the danger from Sparta 
was greater to Athens than to the League’s largely island members, and 
in those circumstances it was Athens that needed to attract allies rather 
than allies that needed a leader. 

The anti-Persian alliance of 48 1 remained in force after the foundation 
of the Delian League, at any rate until in the late 460s Athens sent help to 
Sparta against the Messenians by virtue of this alliance but abandoned 
the alliance when Sparta dismissed her troops (Thuc. 1. 1 02). 26 Otherwise 
we hear nothing of this alliance except in late and probably fictitious 
stories of its being invoked against Themistocles (Diod. xi. 5 5 . 5-7; Plut. 
Them. 2 3. 6). 27 It has been argued that the Delian League was not an 
independent alliance but an enterprise within the alliance of 48 1; 28 the 
question is one which probably would not have interested contemporar- 
ies. More drastically, it has been suggested that Thucydides’ account of 
the League is seriously misleading, and that what really happened is that 
Athens and a few strong island states banded together to attack medizing 
Greeks in the Aegean, while Sparta was to attack medizers in mainland 
Greece. 29 It is right to stress the difficulties in Thucydides’ account, and 
the early appearance of Athenian self-interestedness in the history of the 
League, 30 but we do not possess evidence of a quality and quantity that 
would justify us in departing from Thucydides to that extent. 31 


The chapters in Thucydides 1 cited above form part of his digression on 
the Pentekontaetia , the period of almost fifty years between the Persian 
Wars and the Peloponnesian War (1.89-1 1 8.z), placed there to justify his 
claim that Sparta’s truest reason for going to war lay not in particular 
instances of objectionable behaviour by Athens but in the power which 
Athens had acquired and in Sparta’s fear of that power (1.23.5-6, cf. 88, 
1 1 8. 2). 32 After dealing with the rebuilding of Athens’ walls after the 
Persian Wars and with the foundation of the Delian League, he proceeds 
to give a bald catalogue of events in Athens’ foreign relations down to 
the Thirty Years’ Peace of 446/5 (98—1 1 5.1), followed by an account of 
Athens’ war against Samos in 440—439 (1 15. 2—1 17), which is the only 
near-contemporary narrative that we have of the Pentekontaetia ; in a 
separate digression he tells stories of the downfall of Pausanias of Sparta 
and Themistocles of Athens (128-38). 

26 Cf. p. 1 10. 27 For attacks on Themistocles see pp. 65—7. 

28 Giovannini and Gottlieb 1980 (e 32). 

29 Robertson 1980 (e 69); cf. earlier Meyer 1963 (e 56). 

30 Cf. below, pp. 46—8. 31 Cf. p. 6. 32 Cf. pp. 371—2. 

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Another continuous narrative is provided by Diodorus Siculus (in his 
annalistic account the years 478/7-451/0 are covered in xi. 38-92, and 
450/49-432/ 1 in xii. 1— 37), and episodes in the history of the League are 
mentioned in Plutarch’s lives of Cimon and Pericles. On the whole, 
Diodorus and Plutarch write of episodes already known to us from 
Thucydides, though in connexion with those episodes they often supply 
details conflicting with his narrative or omitted from it. From the 450s 
we begin to have contemporary evidence in epigraphic form, largely 
from Athens. It seems to have been a policy of the democracy ushered in 
by Ephialtes to inscribe public documents on stone, and we have a 
number of decrees of the Assembly and other documents concerning the 
Delian League; in particular, from 45 3 we have the annual tribute quota- 
lists recording the one-sixtieth taken from the tribute paid by League 
members as an offering to the treasury of Athena . 33 Unlike our later 
literary sources, the epigraphic evidence informs us for the most part of 
matters not dealt with by Thucydides: not only does it give us details of a 
kind which we could not expect to find in a narrative history, but the 
inscriptions contain pointers to difficulties in the League about the 
middle of the century which Thucydides might have mentioned but 
chose not to mention. 

From this material we cannot write anything approaching a full 
history of the League. Thucydides’ account is a selection of events, 
presented in order to illustrate the growth of Athenian power. It is 
highly likely that League forces fought in a number of campaigns of 
which we know nothing whatever, but our ignorance makes it imposs- 
ible to estimate how far Athens pursued the anti-Persian objectives for 
which the League was founded and how far and how deliberately she 
sought to further her own interests. We are not told how widely the 
policies followed by Athens were supported by the Athenian citizens, or 
how much support there was for Athens and the League within actual 
and potential member states. We are not told how widespread were the 
revolts and the stern responses by Athens of which some instances are 
reported (though for the years whose quota-lists are well preserved we 
have fairly clear knowledge of which states paid tribute and which did 

Thucydides’ catalogue of events begins with the capture from the 
Persians of Ei'on, at the mouth of the Strymon: Cimon of Athens was in 
command, the inhabitants (non-Greek) were enslaved, and (stated only 
by Plutarch, but there is no reason to doubt it) Athenian settlers were 
sent there (Thuc. 1.98.1, cf. Hdt. vn.107, Plut. Cim. 7—8.2). A scholiast 
on Aeschines (11.31) mentions the destruction of an Athenian force at 

33 Cf. p. 1 24, and on documents concerning the League, pp. 54 - 6 . For an inscription of the 460s 
see p. 46. 

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Nine Ways, a short distance up the Strymon, after the capture of Eion: 
presumably the Athenians were trying to found another colony there. 
The next event is the capture of the Aegean island of Scyros (again 
inhabited by non-Greeks), the enslavement of its inhabitants, and the 
foundation of another Athenian settlement (Thuc. 1.98.2). We are told 
by later writers, but not by Thucydides, that in response to a Delphic 
oracle Cimon found the skeleton of the Athenian hero Theseus on 
Scyros and took it back to Athens (Plut. Thes. 36.1—3, Cim. 8.3—7; Paus. 
1. 17.6; cf. Ath. Pol. fr. 4 Kenyon). Next came a war against Carystus, at 
the south-east end of Euboea, which, having been sacked by the Persians 
in 490, had supported them in 480 (Hdt. vi.99.2, vm.66.2): this ended 
with the Carystians’ coming to terms and joining the League (Thuc. 
1.98.3, cf. Hdt. rx.105). Then Naxos, one of the largest island states, 
revolted and was blockaded and reduced: Thucydides comments that 
‘this was the first allied state to be [metaphorically] enslaved contrary to 
what had been established, but afterwards it happened to the others one 
by one’ (1.98.4). 

Depriving the Persians of their European outpost at Eion was clearly 
a proper act for the Delian League; but the Athenian colony there, and 
the attempted colony at Nine Ways (finally established as Amphipolis, in 
437/6), would primarily benefit Athens. Nine Ways was at an important 
crossing of routes, and the area had gold and silver deposits and suitable 
timber for shipbuilding. It is doubtful if the attack on Scyros was 
justified as an anti-Persian measure: one Scyrian had helped the Persian 
navy to locate and mark a dangerous reef in 480 (Hdt. viii. 183.3), but 
that is Herodotus’ only reference to Scyros. The removal of barbarian 
pirates could be represented as generally advantageous; but the gain for 
Athens was clear, not only in the finding of what could be revered as 
Theseus’ skeleton but also in the acquisition of an island which occupied 
an important position on the route from the Hellespont to Athens and 
which may itself have had corn to export. Presumably the settlers were 
all Athenian: in the fourth century Athens was to claim Scyros as one of 
her rightful possessions (e.g. Andoc. 111.12). Yet it is likely that the 
members of the League both approved and joined in the campaigns 
against Eion and Scyros (though ‘the Athenians’ are to be understood as 
the subject of the verbs in Thuc. 1.98). Carystus was a fair target for an 
anti-Persian League; already in the autumn of 480 the patriotic Greeks 
had extorted money from it and had ravaged its land (Hdt. vm.ii2, 
1 2 1 . 1 ). However, it like Scyros lay close to the route from the Hellespont 
to Athens, and so Athens in particular would benefit from a compliant 
Carystus. We are not told why Naxos revolted. Technically it was not 
entitled to withdraw from what had been founded as a permanent 
alliance; it was to have been the Persians’ first foothold in the Cyclades at 

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the beginning of the century, and was their first conquest in the Cyclades 
in 490 (Hdt. v. 28-34, vi. 96), and it could reasonably be claimed that the 
League could not afford to let Naxos go. The ‘enslavement’ of Naxos 
was probably similar to the subsequent treatment of Thasos: Naxos will 
have been forced to remain in the League against its will, to demolish its 
city wall, to surrender its warships (presumably, to Athens), and to pay 
an indemnity and tribute; we need not suppose that Athenian interfer- 
ence went further than that. 34 

There is no doubt about the anti-Persian nature of the next event 
mentioned by Thucydides, the battle of the river Eurymedon. Probably, 
in previous campaigns, the League had been winning over coastal cities 
as far as Pamphylia (on the south side of Asia Minor); when the Persians 
began assembling a large fleet, Cimon went with Athenian and allied 
ships (specially designed to carry a larger number of hoplites than usual), 
forced Phaselis to join the League, and continued east to the Eury- 
medon, where he destroyed the Persians’ fleet in the mouth of the river 
and then landed and sacked their camp; he then proceeded further east to 
defeat Persian reinforcements coming from Cyprus. This was a major 
campaign, with two hundred Persian ships destroyed according to 
Thucydides, and more according to later writers (Thuc. 1. 100.1; details 
added by Diod. xi. 60. 3-62, with battles first off Cyprus and then at the 
Eurymedon on the same day, and by Plut. C'tm. 1 2-1 3). If the League had 
been recruiting members as far away as Pamphylia, and was prepared to 
send large forces to fight against Persia at the Eurymedon, we should 
expect it to be well established in the Aegean. 

We should also expect a sequel to the victory at the Eurymedon. 
Cyprus is not far beyond the river. Greeks had settled there, dominating 
but not displacing the other inhabitants, at the end of the Mycenaean 
period; in the Archaic period Cyprus had looked south and east rather 
than north and west, and she had submitted to Persia c. 545, but by the 
end of the sixth century Greek culture was in favour with those who 
objected to Persian rule. Cyprus joined in the Ionian Revolt against 
Persia in the 490s, but was obliged to contribute to Xerxes’ invasion of 
Greece in 480. 35 Pausanias had begun the campaign of 478 there, but had 
then turned his attention to Byzantium, and we must assume that none of 
the states of Cyprus joined the Delian League at its foundation. After the 
battle of the Eurymedon we should expect an attempt to recover Cyprus 
for the Greek world, and later events were to show that Athens did not 
forget Cyprus, but at this point the attempt seems not to have been made. 

34 Contra Ostwald 1982 (a 95) 38-9, supposing that Naxos ‘lost control over her internal 
administration’. Blackman 1969 (e 10) 199-200 leaves open the possibility that Naxos was allowed 
to retain her ships. 

35 Cf. CAH ii 3 . 2 , ch. 2 zb, iri 2 .i, ch. 12, ni 2 -3, ch. 36 r, iv 2 48 (Hdt. vii.90), 483-4; and, on Cyprus 
both before and during the fifth century, Meiggs 477-86. 

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Given that the date of the battle is uncertain and that Thucydides’ 
narrative is highly selective, we can not be sure why the victory was not 
immediately followed up. 

For Thucydides’ next episode we return to the Aegean, and to Athens’ 
pursuit of her own advantage. The island of Thasos revolted, on account 
of a dispute over trading posts and mines on the Thracian mainland, 
which were controlled by Thasos but coveted by Athens. The Athenians 
won a sea battle and landed on the island, and the large number of ten 
thousand Athenian and allied settlers were sent to Nine Ways (but were 
annihilated by the Thracians in a battle at Drabescus, to the north east). 
The Thasians appealed to Sparta, and Thucydides believes that the 
Spartans secretly promised to distract Athens by invading Attica, but 
Sparta herself was distracted by the great earthquake and the Helot 
Revolt which followed it, and no invasion of Attica took place. 36 Sparta 
and Athens had not yet quarrelled, and Sparta was shortly to ask for 
Athenian help against the helots; Thasos may have appealed to Sparta, 
but it is unlikely that Sparta intended to respond. Thasos was besieged, 
and in the third year came to terms with Athens: she was to demolish her 
city wall, surrender her warships and mainland possessions, presumably 
to Athens, and pay an indemnity and tribute (Thuc. 1.100.2 — ioi). The 
colony at Nine Ways was not purely Athenian, and Athens presumably 
claimed that Thasos was monopolizing resources in barbarian territory 
from which all the League should benefit, but other members too had a 
peraia which might be threatened by such a doctrine, and this episode 
looks more like an extension of Athens’ power than a furthering of the 
Leagues’s objectives. 

‘In the third year’ (1. 10 1.3) is Thucydides’ first indication of time since 
the beginning of his account of the Pentekontaetia. Diodorus groups all 
the events from Ei'on to the Eurymedon under 470/69, and mentions 
Thasos under 464/3 (xi.60-2, 70.1, 5). The scholiast on Aeschines dates 
to the archonship in Athens of Phaidon (476/5) the Athenian defeat 
which followed the capture of Ei'on. Plutarch ( Tbes . 36.1) dates to the 
same year the oracle in response to which Cimon brought back the bones 
of Theseus from Scyros; in Cim. 8, §§5—7 Plutarch deals with the capture 
of Scyros, and in §§7—9 reports that the archon Apsephion (469/8) invited 

36 There seem to have been links of xenia between Sparta and Thasos. A man called Pausanias son 
of Alexarchus was a tbeoros in Thasos in the 440s (Salviat 1979 (f 62) iv. 25 in the text between pages 
1 16 and 1 17), and should have been bom about the time of Pausanias’ Aegean command of 478. A 
man called Liches son of Arcesileos was an archon in Thasos in 398/7 (Pouilloux 1954 (f 5 8) 266-70 
no. 29.17; date, Pouilloux and Salviat 1984 (f 59) 257-8, and 1983 (c 79) 386): he is more probably a 
Thasian whose family has taken over two Spartan names (Pouilloux 1954, loc. cit.\ Cartledge 1984 (f 
15)) than the well-known Spartan Lichas, geron in 420 (Thuc. v.50.4 with Xen. Hell. 111.2.21), still 
alive in 398/7 {pace Thuc. vm.84.5) an ^ appointed archon in Thasos (Pouilloux and Salviat 1983 (c 

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Cimon and his fellow generals to supplant the regular judges of the 
tragedies performed at the Dionysia. For the coercion of Carystus there 
is no chronological evidence. For the revolt of Naxos there is none 
unless we take seriously a story in Thucydides’ digression on Themisto- 
cles: in his flight across the Aegean he passed Naxos while the Athenians 
were blockading it (i.i 37.2). If this is true, and if the Persian king whom 
Themistocles met was Artaxerxes {1. 137.3), who succeeded Xerxes in 
465, the revolt of Naxos can hardly be earlier than c. 466; but it is by no 
means certain that Thucydides’ story should be accepted. 37 There is no 
direct evidence to date the battle of the Eurymedon. 

The war against Thasos occupied three years (Thuc. 1.101.3), proba- 
bly three archontic years. Thucydides (rv.102.3) dates the colony whose 
settlers were destroyed at Drabescus thirty-two years after the failure of 
Aristagoras in Thrace (Hdt. v. 1 24-6), and the successful foundations of 
Amphipolis in the twenty-ninth year after the unsuccessful colony; the 
Aeschines scholiast dates the unsuccessful colony to the archonship of 
Lysicrates (45 3/2) and the successful to 437/6 (the latter confirmed by a 
date-table entry in Diod. xn.32.3). The scholiast can be reconciled with 
Thucydides if we suppose that our text gives the wrong name beginning 
Lysi — : the archon of 465/4, twenty-nine years by inclusive counting 
from 437/6, was Lysitheus (and 496/5, the date obtained if we count 
inclusively again, is an acceptable date for Aristagoras’ failure 38 ). The 
war against Thasos may therefore be dated 465/4-463/2, and this is 
compatible with what is known of Cimon’s subsequent career. 

It used to be normal to assign Ei'on and Scyros to 476 and 475, and 
Carystus and Naxos to the later 470s. Plutarch did not necessarily have 
evidence for, or even believe in, a connexion between the capture of 
Scyros and Cimon’s judging the tragedies, and it has been suggested that 
judging the tragedies may have been a reward for victory at the 
Eurymedon in 469. 39 More recently, however, later dates have been 
canvassed for some or all of these episodes. According to Diod. xi. 5 3. 1 
the archon of 469/8 was not Apsephion but Phaidon or Phaion, and 
Diodorus might have placed the sequence of events beginning with Ei'on 
in 470/69 because the capture of Ei'on belonged to that year; Plutarch 
might have had evidence connecting the judging of the tragedies with 
the capture of Scyros and the recovery of Theseus’ skeleton; Thucydides 
might be correct in stating that Themistocles passed Naxos while the 

» a. P . 66. 

38 The most striking feature of Badian 1 98 8 (b i ) is the argument that the scholiast’s date is correct 
and the disaster at Drabescus occurred in 453/2, long after the foundation of the colony. 

39 See the tables of dates in Gomme, HCT 1 394-6, ATL 111 175-9. The suggestion about 
Cimon’s judging of the tragedies was first made by Jacoby 1947 (c 56) 3 n. 1 = c 58, 147 n. 17. 

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4 6 


Athenians were blockading it . 40 Nevertheless, the old orthodoxy is still 
to be preferred. Chronological arguments which rely on Diodorus’ 
narrative dates are fragile; and it is hard to believe that Athens would 
have waited many years to take Ei'on from the Persians, to occupy Scyros 
and to assert herself against Carystus, or that within months of facing the 
revolt of Naxos she should have felt safe enough in the Aegean to take 
large forces to the Eurymedon. 

Three episodes not included in Thucydides’ summary have to be fitted 
in. He tells us later that Pausanias, after his recall to Sparta in 478, 
returned to Byzantium, was dislodged by the Athenians and moved to 
Colonae, and from there was again recalled to Sparta (1. 1 28.3, 1 3 1). Some 
have placed this before the capture of Ei'on, since a fragment of Ephorus 
or a writer using him ( FGrH 70 f 191.6) and Diodorus (xi.60.2) take 
Cimon and the fleet to Ei'on from Byzantium, 41 but this may be simply 
because in Diodorus at least (xi.44.7) Byzantium is where the fleet was 
last mentioned, under the command of Pausanias in 478. A passage in 
Justin, defective at least in that it makes Pausanias the founder of 
Byzantium, states that he controlled it for seven years (ix.1.3): we may 
wonder why Athens should have tolerated his presence there for so long, 
but since his downfall is more easily placed in the 460s we should accept 
the statement and date his expulsion c. 470. 42 

Plutarch (C». 14.1) mentions a campaign of Cimon against Persians 
and Thracians in the Chersonese, between the Eurymedon and the 
Thasian war, and this is confirmed by a casualty list which records deaths 
both in the Hellespont and on Thasos, presumably in the same 
campaigning year ( Agora xvii 1). The Chersonese campaign must 
therefore be dated immediately before the war against Thasos, and the 
fact that opposition to the League occurred there so late makes a long 
occupation of Byzantium by Pausanias less implausible, in Cim. 13.4 
Plutarch mentions that on separate occasions Pericles and Ephialtes 
sailed beyond the Chelidonian Islands (south of Phaselis) and met no 
resistance. Pericles’ voyage may be that of 440 (Thuc. 1.1 16.3), but that of 
Ephialtes at any rate must be placed between the battle of the Euryme- 
don and his murder at the end of the 460s. 

As stated above, it is highly likely that during these years the League 
engaged in activity against the Persians of which we know nothing at all. 

40 All these events from Ei'on onwards are down-dated by Smart 1 967 (e 84); some but not all are 
down-dated by Meiggs 80-3, Levy 1976 (d 48) 277-9, Milton 1979 (b 9). For a variant on the low 
chronology, see Unz 1986 (b 16) 69-73, 1 am not persuaded by Badian 1987 (e 3) 2—8 that in Thuc. 1. 
100. 1 ficra ravra kcli means that the siege of Naxos and the battle of the Eurymedon were 
contemporaneous. 41 E.g. Gomme, HCT 1 399—400; ATL nr 158-60. 

42 White 1964 (f 71) argued for a late date from the likely age of Pausanias and the number of his 
sons; see also Rhodes 1970 (c 82) 396-7; Badian 1988 (b i ) 300—4; Chronological Notes below, p. 
499. For the end of Pausanias’ career see pp. ioo-i. 

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We do know that there was fighting against Persia on various occasions 
until c. 450 (below), and that by then Persia had been driven so far from 
the Aegean that a peace treaty either was imposed on her or later could be 
believed to have been imposed on her. 43 Those who joined the League as 
an anti-Persian organization could not complain that Athens was failing 
to pursue the League’s objectives. But, appropriately for his own 
purpose, the episodes chosen for inclusion in Thucydides’ catalogue can 
all be seen as illustrating the growth of Athenian power. Eton became an 
Athenian colony, and gave Athens access to the area where Amphipolis 
was eventually to be founded; Scyros became an Athenian colony. 
Carystus was forced to join the League against its will; Naxos was forced 
to remain in the League against its will. The Eurymedon was a famous 
victory for the League, but more specifically for Athens. Athens fought 
against and subdued Thasos to take from it territory which Athens 

This is not to say that Thucydides is wrong to represent Athens’ 
foundation of the Delian League as an innocent matter, the acceptance of 
an invitation from the eastern Greeks to be their leader in a continuing 
war against Persia: we need not suppose that Athens had ulterior 
motives in accepting the invitation, or enforced her will on reluctant 
allies from the beginning. 44 But from the earliest years, as the League’s 
policy developed, Athens found herself presented with opportunities to 
further her own interests, and, not necessarily of set purpose, she took 
those opportunities: the response to one situation tended to set the 
pattern for responses to later situations. 

According to Thucydides, it was largely by the defections of the allies 
that Athens was compelled to become more despotic: as leader she 
insisted on the allies’ obligations, the allies hated her for it, and so she 
came to fear the consequences of not retaining a tight control (1.75—7, 
97.1, 11.63.1—2). After the revolt of Naxos he inserts a chapter on the 
tightening of Athenian control within the League (1.99): revolt often 
grew out of default in the provision of tribute, ships and men, since the 
allies did not take kindly to Athens’ punctilious exaction of what was due 
from them (cf. vi.76.3, also Hdt. vi.i 1-12, on the Ionians in the 490s); 
Athens increasingly became a superior rather than a leader of equals, and 
the allies encouraged this development by deciding that it would be less 
burdensome to pay tribute than to take part in campaigns; thus the 
Athenian fleet grew at the allies’ expense, and the allies were not trained 

43 Cf. pp. 1 21-7. 

44 Cf. above, pp. 36 with n. 8, 40 with n. 29. Pride in Athenian achievements, not only against the 
Persians but also against Greeks, is attested by the names which some men of this generation gave to 
their sons: Eurymedon (Thuc. 111.80.2, etc.; notice also the vase inscribed EvpupeSov cip.i KvpaSe 
cctt etca, published by Schauenberg 1975 (1 146)), but also Carystonicus and Naxiades (M-L 48.27, 

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4 8 


or equipped to resist when Athens used force against them. Certainly it 
will have been less arduous for a small state to pay tribute than to provide 
and man even one ship fora long campaign regularly each summer; 45 and 
since from the beginning all executive power lay with Athens we may 
accept Thucydides’ implication that ships built and manned as a charge 
on the tribute became Athenian ships. An ally which did not provide its 
own ships and men could not withdraw from a campaign of which it 
disapproved; even if it retained one or two warships it would have little 
practice in fighting, on sea or on land, and so would easily be dealt with 
when dissatisfaction reached the point of withholding tribute. 

Diodorus places his comment on the changing nature of the League 
after the coercion of Thasos and Aegina (xi.70.3— 4): the Athenians no 
longer treated the allies reasonably, but ruled forcibly and arrogantly; 
most of the allies, unable to bear this, began to discuss revolt amongst 
themselves, and some despised the League Council and ‘took to 
organizing themselves individually’ (freer’ ISCav erarTovro, by which he 
may mean that they withdrew from the League). In Thuc. hi. 10-1 1 the 
Mytilenaeans complain that the structure of the Council enabled Athens 
to get her own way, and she picked off the allies one by one, beginning 
[which is not true] with the weakest. Since Athens with the allies 
remaining loyal to her controlled the sea, and most members were island 
states or coastal states with easier communications by sea than by land, 
concerted revolt by a number of allies would have been hard to organize, 
and there is no evidence that it occurred. 

In its early years, then, the Delian League was both a body fighting 
against Persia on behalf of the Greeks and a body through which Athens 
found opportunities to extend her own power: the Thasian war is the 
most blatant instance mentioned by Thucydides of Athens’ not merely 
furthering her own interests but doing so at the expense of one of her 

According to Thucydides the Spartans were happy at the formation of 
the new League under Athenian leadership, since they distrusted the 
influence of the wider world on Spartan commanders, and regarded the 
Athenians as competent to take the lead and friendly to themselves. Later 
texts disagree. The Athenaion Politeia, if its text is neither emended nor 
given an unnatural sense to obtain agreement with Thucydides, states 
that Athens’ taking the lead at sea was contrary to Sparta’s will (23.2). 
Diodorus (xi.50) has a debate in which the Spartans consider going to 
war to recover the lead, and it seems likely that they will decide for war, 
but unexpectedly a member of the gerousia called Hetoemaridas obtains 

45 Cf. above, p. 38 with n. 18. The point was made earlier, in more general terms, by Finley 1978 
(e 25) 1 10— 14. 

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majority support for his arguments on the other side. Certainly no such 
war took place. It might be surprising if details of a debate which did not 
issue in action leaked out of secretive Sparta, and another contributor to 
this volume regards the story as an invention. 46 The Athenaion PoJiieia is 
not bound to have agreed with Thucydides, and there may well have 
been some Spartans who had supported Pausanias and who wanted 
Sparta to remain involved in Aegean affairs; but after the Persian Wars 
Sparta had trouble not only with her own commanders abroad but with 
her neighbours in the Peloponnese, 47 and, as long as Athens’ expansion 
took place in the Aegean and under the command of the pro-Spartan 
Cimon, many may have thought that there was no cause for alarm. 
Spartan cooperation with Athens led to the condemnation of Themisto- 
cles (Thuc. 1. 1 3 5 .2— 3); 48 whatever Thasos may have hoped, Sparta did 
not interfere with her reduction by Athens; and in 462/1 Cimon took 
Athenian hoplites to help Sparta against the Messenians (below). 
Thucydides’ judgement clearly reflects the prevailing, if not the univer- 
sal, opinion in Sparta. 


Friendship between Sparta and Athens came to an end as a result of the 
Messenian War which followed the great earthquake of 464: Sparta 
asked for help from her allies including Athens; Cimon wanted to send 
help but Ephialtes did not (Plut. Cim. 16.9—10); Cimon had his way and 
went to the Peloponnese, with four thousand hoplites (Ar. Lys. 1138- 
44); but the Spartans, afraid of the daring and radicalism of the 
Athenians, suspected that they would be persuaded by the rebels to take 
radical action, and so claimed that they had no further need of the 
Athenians and sent them home. Athens then abandoned the alliance of 
481 with Sparta, and instead made alliances with Argos and Thessaly, 
enemies of Sparta (Thuc. 1.101.2— 102). It is argued in another chapter 
that what aroused the Spartans’ fear was the political success of the anti- 
Spartan Ephialtes in Athens in Cimon’s absence: the Athenian soldiers, 
had they stayed, might have received new orders to support the rebels 
against Sparta , 49 The era of peaceful coexistence between Athens and 
Sparta was at an end, and Athens was now prepared to challenge Sparta’s 
dominant position on the Greek mainland. In Greece Athens’ new 
alliances, and the desire to conquer Aegina at last, drew her into the First 
Peloponnesian War; but at the same time she continued the fighting 
against Persia for which the Delian League had been founded, now 
prosecuting the war outside the Aegean, and she also began to look to 

46 Cf. p. 100. 47 Cf. pp. loifF. 48 Cf. p. 65. 49 Cf. p. 69. 

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the Greeks in Italy and Sicily, where previously she had not had any 
direct involvement. 

Athens’ expansion on the mainland, and her conquest of Aegina, are 
discussed elsewhere in this volume. 50 Aegina was treated in the same way 
as Naxos and Thasos: she had to demolish her walls and surrender her 
warships, and was incorporated in the League as a tribute-paying 
member (Thuc. 1.108.4); ln 43 2 she was to complain that Athens was 
denying her the autonomy promised either in the treaty of incorporation 
or in the Thirty Years’ Peace of 446/5, but Thucydides gives no details 
(1.67.2 etc.). 51 From the first of the quota-lists she is found paying tribute 
at the high rate of 30 talents a year. The members of the League were full 
allies of Athens, and she used League forces not only against Aegina 
(1.105 .2) but also on the mainland (1.107.5; cf. the reference to Ionians in 
M— L 36, Paus. v.10.4). It has normally been assumed that her mainland 
acquisitions were not enrolled in the League but were made directly 
subject to Athens; but the possibility has been suggested that Boeotian 
Orchomenus is to be restored in the quota-list of 45 2. 52 

War against the Persians continued. A fleet of two hundred Athenian 
and allied ships was sent to Cyprus (mentioned in parenthesis, Thuc. 
r. 104.2). In spite of the victory at the Eurymedon, Cyprus had still not 
been added to the Delian League. Ephialtes had sailed beyond the 
Chelidonian Islands at some time in the 460s, but we cannot infer another 
expedition of Cimon to Cyprus in 462 from Plut. Cim. 1 5. 2. 53 However, 
again Cyprus had to be left for future attention. 

This force in Cyprus received an appeal for help from the Libyan king 
Inaros, who had incited Egypt to revolt against Persia, and it was 
decided to help. Egypt was not half-Greek, as Cyprus was, but Greeks 
had fought for Egyptian kings and had settled in Egypt in the seventh 
and sixth centuries, and many Greeks still lived there in the fifth 
century; 54 campaigning for the Egyptians could thus be represented as a 
continuation of the war against Persia for which the League had been 
founded, and as an act of Greek solidarity. The fact that Egypt had 
abundant crops of corn may also have appealed both to Athens and to 
some other members. So the League’s forces moved on from Cyprus to 
Egypt, where they gained control of the Nile delta and the greater part of 
the city of Memphis, and laid siege to the remaining part (Thuc. 1. 104). 

The Persians, like the Thasians earlier, tried to induce the Spartans to 

50 Cf. pp. 1 1 i-i 6. 51 Cf. p. 376. 

52 IG i 3 260. ix.9, with Lewis 1981 (e 41) 77 n. 43, and ad loc. See also p. 1 16 n. 72. 

53 As was argued by Barns 195 3-4 (e 5). Sec p. 69. 

54 Cf. CAH hi 2 . 3, ch. 3 6b. Athens’ Egyptian campaign of the 450s is treated briefly in an 
Egyptian context in CAH iv 2 276. 

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distract Athens by invading Attica, but again Sparta did not act . 55 In due 
course the Persians sent a large army under Megabyxus to Egypt. The 
Egyptians and the Greeks were driven out of Memphis, and eventually 
were surrounded in Prosopitis, an island in the south of the delta 
bounded by two branches of the river and a canal. There they were 
besieged for eighteen months, until the Persians drained the canal and 
crossed to the island. ‘Thus the Greeks’ cause was ruined, after six years 
of war: a few of the many who had gone escaped through Libya to 
Cyrene, but the majority perished.’ Fifty further ships from Athens and 
the League arrived in time to join in the disaster (1.109— 10). 

Thucydides continues not to give precise indications of chronology; 
he does not use temporal expressions when moving from one field of 
activity to another, and it is reasonable to suppose that he has not 
presented each separate incident in chronological order but that the 
Egyptian episode has been organized in two blocks of narrative for 
tidiness’ sake and these events may have overlapped with those reported 
from Greece. 56 The Thirty Years’ Peace was made in 446/5, and the five- 
year truce between Athens and the Peloponnesians in 451; three years 
without attested activity separated the truce from the last events which 
Thucydides mentions of the fighting in Greece (1. 1 1 2. i). 57 The treasury 
of the League had been moved from Delos to Athens by the spring of 45 3 
(below); two inscriptions confirm that the Samians took part in the 
Egyptian campaign, 58 and they are said to have proposed the moving of 
the treasury (Plut. Arist. 25.5): it is reasonable to suppose that the 
treasury was moved in fear of Persian reprisals, 59 and to date the end of 
the Egyptian campaign to 454. We cannot be sure in what kind of year 
the six years are reckoned, but probably the campaign began in 459 (see 
also pp. 500—1). 

An Athenian casualty list (M-L 33) lists men who died in ‘the war’ in 
Cyprus, Egypt, Phoenicia, Halieis, Aegina and Megara ‘in the same 

55 Some connect with the Persian envoy Megabazus one Arthmius of Zelea, who was believed in 
the fourth century to be an Athenian proxenos whom the Athenians outlawed for bringing Persian 
gold to the Peloponnese (Dem. ix.41-3, xix.271; Aeschin. 111.258; Dinarch. 11.24— 5; cf. Craterus 
FCrH 342 f 14 (decree ofCimon), Plut. Them. 6.4, Aristid. 11.392 Dindorf(decreeof Themistocles)). 
Arthmius’ mission is placed here by Busolt 1893-1904 (a 12) n 2 . 653 n.3, m.i. 328 n. 1; earlier by 
Meiggs 508-12; it is rejected as a fourth-century fiction by Habicht 1961 (c 40) 23—5. 

54 Cf. the discussion of his dating of the Third Messenian War, p. 500. 57 Cf. p. 120. 

58 M— L 34 has long been known. Dunst 1972 (c 129) 153—5 no. xxiv publishes an inscription 
recording Inaros’ award of a prize to Lcocritus of Samos, ‘in command of the allies’ sailors*. 

w Plut. Per. 12.1 says that Pericles was accused of taking over the monies of the Greeks from 
Delos (an accusation which may be authentic despite the weaknesses of these chapters of the Pericles 
discussed by Andrewes 1978 (d 3) 1-5), and it is almost universally accepted that the treasury was 
moved immediately before the publication of the first quota-list in Athens, in 453. However, 
arguments have been advanced for a transfer in Aristides’ lifetime by Pritchett 1969 (e 63) (cf. Plut. 
Arist. 25.3), and for a transfer in the late 460s by Robertson 1980 (e 69) 1 1 2-19 (cf. Just. 111.6.1-4). 

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5 2 3' THE DELIAN LEAGUE TO 449 B. C. 

year’, probably a year which includes all of the summer of 459: the 
campaign against Persia in the Levant and the campaign in Greece are 
being regarded as part of one and the same war. The last three items are 
given in what appears from Thucydides to be chronological order. 60 
Probably the first three items are in chronological order too: there was 
fighting in Cyprus at the beginning of the season; then the forces were 
transferred to Egypt, and after they had established themselves there a 
raid was made on Phoenicia (this is not mentioned in any of our literary 
sources). 61 

Diodorus, mentioning neither Cyprus nor the League, has the 
Egyptian campaign undertaken after Inaros sent envoys to Athens 
(xi.71.4— 6). From Thucydides and the inscription it appears that the 
move from Cyprus to Egypt was made at short notice: this suggests that 
Inaros’ approach may have been made not to Athens but to the forces in 
Cyprus, and that the initial decision to respond may have been taken on 
the spot by the commander of the fleet (Ctesias, FGrH 688 f 14.36, gives 
his name as Charitimides, not otherwise attested); he will no doubt have 
consulted the leaders of the allied contingents. 

Thucydides suggests that all 250 ships sent to Egypt and their crews 
were involved in the final disaster, in which case this was indeed a major 
setback. Diodorus has 300 ships voted and 200 sent (xi.71.5, 74.3); the 
Egyptians and Athenians defeat a first Persian expedition of 300,000 
under Achaemenes (74.1—4); then Artabazus and Megabyxus take 

300.000 soldiers and 300 ships (75.1-2, 77.1: there is no sign of ships in 
Thuc. 1. 109.3-4); and when the Egyptians surrender the Athenians burn 
their ships but themselves withdraw under a truce (77.3—5); reinforce- 
ments are not mentioned. In the epitome of Ctesias ( FGrH 688 f 14.36- 
9) the Greeks’ original force comprises only 40 ships; Achaemenides has 

400.000 soldiers (of whom 300,000 survive their defeat) and 80 ships; 
Megabyxus takes 200,000 soldiers and 300 ships; 6,000 Greeks survive 
and are taken to Persia; again there is no mention of Greek reinforce- 
ments. Those who find it hard to believe in a disaster on the scale implied 
by Thucydides have been tempted by Ctesias’ forty ships to believe 
either that on that point he is right and Thucydides is wrong or that after 
the initial victory most of the Greek ships were withdrawn. 62 There may 
well be some authentic material behind the Ctesias epitome and Diodo- 
rus, but the 6,000 survivors later in the epitome point to more than forty 
ships, and on this point Diodorus is closer to Thucydides. The raid on 
Phoenicia shows that all the ships did not stay in Egypt all the time, but 

60 Cf. p. 1 1 2. 61 See CAH iv 2 144. 

62 See, against Thucydides, Westlake 1950 (e 92), Salmon 1965 (e 77) 1 5 1 — 8; for Thucydides, 
Libourel 1971 (e 43), Meiggs 473-6. 

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there is no reason to think that Thucydides’ account is fundamentally 

While they were fighting against the Persians in the Levant and 
against their fellow Greeks at home, the Athenians also began to take an 
interest in the West. An inscription whose lettering points to a date 
before c. 445 s3 records an alliance between Athens and Egesta, an 
Elymian (non-Greek, but hellenized) city in the north west of Sicily ( 1 G 
1 3 11): the prescript of the decree included the name of the Athenian 
archon, but the only letters which can safely be deciphered are the last 
two, ON. Editors used to date this 45 4/ 3 , on the inadequate grounds that 
Diod. xi. 86. 2 mentions under that year a war in Sicily in which Egesta 
was involved; 64 there was another archon whose name has the right 
ending in 458/7, and that provides a better context for this further 
extension of Athens’ interests than the time when the Egyptian 
campaign ended in failure and the fighting in Greece came to a halt. 65 
Why Athens should have made her first alliance with a western city at 
this time we do not know: possibly it was Egesta which made the 
approach to Athens, and once more Athens accepted an invitation. 

Six years of fighting in two areas had brought mixed results. In 
Greece, Aegina was a gain kept until the end of the League, but Athens’ 
other acquisitions, extensive and impressive though they seemed, were 
more than she had the strength to retain against concerted opposition, 
and most of them were to be lost in 446. In Egypt a promising start led to 
a disastrous conclusion, when the Persians sent into Egypt forces which 
were too much for Athens and the allies. The alliance with Egesta was to 
be followed by the establishment of other Athenian contacts with the 
West, and ultimately by the disastrous Sicilian Expedition of 415—413, 
which again if it had succeeded in the short term would not have brought 
gains which could be retained permanently. Athens could dominate the 

w Although this text was dated by an archon’s name, it did not become norma) Athenian practice 
to date decrees in that way until c. 420. The authors of ATL , in working on inscriptions concerning 
the League, accepted what was already standard doctine, that the forms of beta , rbo , sigma and phi 
used in Athenian inscriptions changed about the middle of the fifth century: this doctrine has been 
subjected to a sustained attack by H.B. Mattingly, in a long series of articles beginning with e 44, e 
45, e 47, who brings down to about the 420s many texts which orthodoxy places about 450; but 
study of texts which are securely dated, by Meiggs 1966 (c 145), Walbank 1974 (c 170, revised in 
1978(0 1 71)); cf. Meritt and Wade-Gery 1962 and 1965(0 1 52), shows that texts which can be dated 
independently support the orthodox doctrine. The argument has extended from epigraphic to 
linguistic phenomena, with some support for later dates claimed by Henry 1978 (c 154). I shall 
assume that the orthodox doctrine is correct, but shall indicate when a date depends on the doctrine. 

64 See p. 1 59 n. 10. 

ha)f$pov the archon of 45 8/7, was read by Raubitschck 1944(0 16 1) ion. j ; happ)ov is restored in 
M-L 57; in IG i 3 Woodhead supports ba\^\p\ov in his commentary but leaves the text unrestored. 
’Avr]i<f>6v y the archon of 418/17, was read by Mattingly 196} (e 47) 267-70; this dating has been 
accepted by Smart 1972 (e 85), by Wick 1975 (c 176) and 1981 (c 177), and, with new photographs. 
Chambers, Gallucci and Spanos, ZPE 8} (1990) 58-65. 

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Aegean even against opposition, because the sea kept separate medium- 
to-small states apart, and as long as she kept the naval power in her own 
hands a large force could not be put together against her; but in the early 
450s she tried expanding into areas where it was much harder for a single 
city state to establish its power securely. 


However great the disaster in Egypt, Thucydides does not suggest that 
the Athenians were greatly chastened. After making a truce with the 
Peloponnesians in 45 1 , they turned their attention to Cyprus once more, 
and sent a force of two hundred Athenian and allied ships there under the 
command of Cimon, returned from ostracism. 66 Sixty of these were 
diverted to Egypt in response to an appeal from Amyrtaeus, ‘the king in 
the marshes’, still holding out against Persia (cf. 1.110.2). On Cyprus a 
siege of Citium was begun, and in the course of the fighting Cimon died; 
the League forces won a combined land and sea battle against Phoeni- 
cians, Cyprians and Cilicians, but they then withdrew from both Cyprus 
and Egypt (1.1 12. 1-4). According to Diodorus (xn.3-4) the Athenians 
captured Citium and Marium, and laid siege to Salamis, thus prompting 
the Persians to sue for the Peace of Callias. After this Cyprus does not 
figure in the history of Greece again until the last decade of the century, 
though there is archaeological evidence for continuing contact. 67 
Further dealings between Egypt and Athens are attested in the gift of 
corn to Athens by Psammetichus in 445/4. If he was hoping to obtain 
further intervention against Persia, he was unsuccessful. 68 There is only 
one more appearance of the Delian League in Thucydides’ narrative 
before the Samian War of 440-439: the revolt of Euboea in 446, followed 
by the recognition of the League as an Athenian power bloc in the Thirty 
Years’ Peace of 446/5, treated in connexion with events on the Greek 
mainland (1.1 14-1 1 5 .i). 69 

But, despite Thucydides’ silence, inscriptions indicate that these were 
momentous years in the history of the League, that after the disaster in 
Egypt Athens had lost ground to recover, and went further along the 
road of becoming more despotic by insisting strictly on the allies’ 
performance of their obligations. 

After the removal of the League’s treasury to Athens (above), the 
Athenians claimed one-sixtieth of the tribute as an offering to Athena: 
this quota of a sixtieth was calculated not on the total tribute but 

66 On Cimon’s return from ostracism see p. 75. 

67 Cf. CAH vr 2 ch. 1 ic. Excessive confidence in reconstructing the history of fifth-century 
Cyprus is exposed by Maicr 1985 (f 49). 

68 Cf. p. 77. For the suggestion of a bid for support against Persia see Plut. Per. 20.3 and Busolt 

1 89 5 — 1 9°4 (a 12) nr. i. 500. 69 Cf. pp. 136-7. 

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5 5 

Fig. I. Fragment of an Athenian decree ( 7 G I 3 68 = M-L 68) 
concerning tribute, with a relief showing tribute bags and 
vessels. (After B. D. Meritt, Documents on Athenian Tribute (1937) 

4 fig- > •) 

separately on the payments of individual member states, and from 453 a 
series of numbered, annual lists of these quotas was inscribed on stone. 
We are thus able to discover how much tribute was paid by particular 
members in particular years; and, since there was a tendency to list 
together states in the same region (reinforced by the decision to organize 
the lists in five regional categories from 443/2, and in four from the early 
430s), where the texts are well enough preserved we can infer which 
states did not pay any tribute at all in a particular year. 70 

We also have a number of decrees of the Athenian Assembly affecting 
individual members of the League or all the members, and a few 
documents from individual members. Athens took to publishing state 
documents in quantity after Ephialtes’ reform of 462/1; 71 and it is 
noteworthy that the decrees which we have to consider are decrees of the 
Athenian Assembly, not of the League Council. If the Council still 
existed, we should expect at least such matters as the standardization of 
weights, measures and coinage (M-L 45) and the collection of tribute 
( IG i 3 34) to be decided by the Council: what is said of the Council in 
Thuc. 1.96.2—97. 1 and hi. 10. 5 , 1 1.4, is not explicit about its fate, but it is a 

70 The most recent edition of the quota-lists, incorporating the new fragments found in the 
1970s, is IG i 3 259-90. There is a detailed Register of members and their payments inATLni 5-460 
(based on the texts of the lists in that 1939 volume), and there are summary tables in Meiggs 538-61 
(based on the texts \nATL 11). The relief in Fig. 1 here seems to symbolize the arrival of the tribute at 
Athens. 71 Cf. p. 80. 

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56 3 - THE DELIAN LEAGUE TO 449 B. C. 

reasonable inference that, perhaps when the treasury was moved to 
Athens, meetings of the Council were discontinued. 72 

It appears from the earliest quota-lists that there were considerable 
irregularities in the payment of tribute in the late 450s. 73 The first list, 
that of 45 3, with the late payments from small Carian states in the first 
column of the next list, contained about 1 5 5 entries; the rest of the list for 
452, about 144; that for 451, about 143; that for 450, about 1 5 a; 74 that for 
449, about 163, with an appendix containing not only some late whole- 
payments but also complementary payments from about twenty 
members whose initial payments had been incomplete. The lists are not 
completely preserved, but from what is preserved the probability that a 
member included in all of the first four survives in none of them is only 
19 in 1,000; it is overwhelmingly likely that some states found later did 
not appear in the earliest lists, either because they were still contributing 
ships 75 or because they were disaffected and refused to pay when they 
should have paid. 76 States not found earlier than the fourth list include 
Andros, Ceos, Cos, Lebedos, Seriphos, Teos; altogether nineteen are 
attested for the first time in this list, and twenty or more which appeared 
in at least one of the first three lists must have failed to appear in this. 
States not found earlier than the fifth list include Chalcis, Cythnos, 
Eretria, Naxos, 77 Paros, Siphnos, Tenos; again nineteen in all are first 
attested this year. 

There are some positive indications of trouble. An Athenian decree 
for Erythrae, which seems to have used the older letter-forms ( IC i 3 14: 
we are dependent on a printer’s facsimile of a lost copy of a lost stone), 
begins with offerings at the Panathenaea, and continues with regulations 
for a council of 1 20 appointed by lot; Athenian overseers ( episkopoi ) and a 
garrison commander are involved in setting up the council, and the 
garrison commander is to be involved in future years; the council swears 
allegiance to the people of Erythrae and of Athens and the allies; men 
who have fled to the ‘Medes’ may not be taken back, and men who have 
remained in Erythrae may not be exiled, without the permission of 
Athens; in certain circumstances men are to be exiled from the whole 
Athenian alliance. Presumably an anti-Athenian regime had come to 

72 Jones 1952/3 (e 38) argued against this view, and Lewis in the commentary on IG i 3 64.9-1 1 
wonders if there is a sign there that the Council survived in some form. 

73 What I say about the earliest quotadists owes a good deal to unpublished work by Lewis. 

74 Without the c. 18 Carian states which appear as late payers for 453 and in 450, the first and 
fourth lists are shorter than the second and third: 453 and 450 are the years in which Athens 
experienced the greatest difficulty in collecting tribute. 

75 West 1929/30 (e 91); ATL hi 267-8; Woodhead 1974 (e 96) (but Woodhead 173-4, *77-8 
thought some absences might be due to the chance of preservation). 

76 Nesselhauf 1933 (e 57) 10-13; Meiggs 109-24 (cf. Meiggs 1943 (e 51) 28-31 and 1963 (e 52) 


77 It is highly unlikely that Naxos was contributing ships: see above, p. 43, and below, p. 60. 

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power with Persian support; Athens then overthrew this regime and 
imposed a democratic constitution on Erythrae. Here we find Athens 
infringing the autonomy of an ally which has rebelled by means which 
she was to use frequently from the middle of the century onwards, but is 
not known to have used before the late 450s: not merely a constitution 
determined by Athens, but the sending of temporary overseers and a 
permanent garrison, the setting of limits to the independence of the ally’s 
law courts and the extension of some judicial sentences to the whole 
League, and the demand for offerings at the Athenian festival of the 
Panathenaea. 78 

Some editors have restored the name of the Athenian archon of 45 3/2 
in the second line of the text, but with archontic dates rare this early the 
traces in the facsimile are not enough to justify the restoration. 
Nevertheless the tribute record suggests that a date at the end of the 450s 
is appropriate. 79 Erythrae is not attested in any of the first four quota- 
lists; its neighbour Buthia appears in the first list, with the amount lost, 
and in the second, with a tribute of as much as 3 talents ( IG i 3 259, v.19; 
260, x.5): it is a plausible assumption that in 45 3 and 45 2 Erythrae was in 
revolt and Buthia was paying on behalf of the dependencies which 
remained loyal. Neither name survives in the third and fourth lists, of 
45 1 and 450: one or the other is probably to be restored in the third, and 
possibly in the fourth. In the fifth list Erythrae and its neighbours appear 
in a block in the main part, with the amount lost, but Erythrae can have 
paid little of its tribute at first, since it pays over 8£ talents among the 
complementary payments later (IG i 3 263, ii.13— 17, v.3). 

The requirement of offerings from Erythrae at the Panathenaea may 
not have seemed alarming, since Erythrae was Ionian in the strictest 
sense of that term, but before long this requirement was to be extended 
to all members of the League (IG i 3 34, 41-3, of 447). There is another 
sign of Athens’ taking the place of Delos not only as the financial but also 
as the religious centre of the League: about the middle of the century 
cults of Athena and of Ion and his sons were established in allied cities, 
possibly on confiscated land. 80 We also see a development in the 
language used to refer to the allies. The decree for Erythrae calls for 
allegiance to Athens and the allies, in a formula which may well have 

78 The fragments in IG i 3 1 5 arc probably not part of the same text. In an inscription from 
Erythrae (DGE 701 = Hill, Sources 2 b 1 16 = IEK 2) there is a property qualification for jurors (lines a 
1 3—1 8): this possibly but not certainly belongs to the constitution established by Athens; the editors 
of IEK pp. 25—6 consider the possibility, but prefer a date before Athens’ intervention. 

79 Mattingly 1963 (e 47) 271 with n. 69 originally favoured a later date, but subsequently he 

changed his mind (E49, 206-7); an earlier date was preferred by Highby 1936 (e 35), especially 33—5, 
Accame 195 2 (c 1 14) 119-23. Welwei 1986 (e 90) stresses that demos ‘people* or plethos ‘mass’ in such 
texts as IG i 3 14 does not necessarily imply a democracy, and argues that when the Athenians 
interfered in the constitution of an allied state in the mid-fifth century they were not doing so on 
ideological grounds. 80 Barron 1964 (e 7) and 1983 (e 8). 

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been used since the earliest years of the League (except that before 
Ephialtes’ reform of 462/1 we should not expect to find the emphasis on 
the plethos, the mass of the people), and at a later point seems to refer to 
‘the Athenian alliance’. Language of this kind was never wholly 
abandoned (cf. IG i 3 101,9—1 1 , of 409), but before long more proprietor- 
ial language was to come into use as well, with oaths of allegiance simply 
to Athens (e.g. IG i 3 37, 43—8, and 40, 21—32, of 447-445), and references 
to ‘the cities which Athens rules’ (restored in IG i 3 19, 8-9, and 27, 14-15, 
of c. 450/49). 81 

For Miletus we have several pieces of evidence. [Xen.] Ath. Pol. 3.1 1 
says that there Athens once supported the upper class, but they soon 
revolted and cut down the demos. A Milesian decree of uncertain date, 
whose beginning is lost, outlaws certain men and their descendants - 
(M— L 43); another decree, probably to be dated 43 5 / 4, seems to reflect a 
democracy modelled on that of Athens. 82 An Athenian decree for 
Miletus (IG i 3 2 1 ) deals with judicial matters and appoints a board of five 
Athenians to work with various Milesian officials: it has the older form 
of lettering; probably its prescript dated it to the archonship of Euthynus 
(or perhaps Euthynous, as in PA 5659), and certainly that archonship is 
mentioned twice in the course of the decree. Literary texts give the name 
Euthydemus to the archons of 450/49, 431/0 and 426/5 (Diod. xn.3.1, 

3 8. 1 , 5 8. 1 , cf. Ath. v.2 1 7A, 2 1 8 b), but other texts, including a contempor- 
ary inscription, call the archon of 426/5 Euthynus/nous (IG i 3 369, 5): 
probably Diodorus has made the same mistake for 4 5 0/49, and the decree 
belongs to that year. 83 

The tribute record has been complicated by the new fragment of the 
first list, first published in 1972. 84 At IG i 3 259, vi.19— 23, we have 
Milesians from Leros and Teichiussa. These were interpreted in the same 
way as Buthia (above), and it was assumed that Miletus itself did not pay 
in 45 3 , so at iii. 1 8—20 part of the new fragment was restored with a three- 
line entry, N eo7ro[Afrat €K]/MtAe[ro Iv /leu«6i]/’T/fp[oTept , o]t: HHH-, but 
it can plausibly be argued that it is better to see here three separate 
entries, of which the second is MiXe[aioi: — ]. 85 In the second list no 
Milesians are clearly preserved, but MiXiaio] 1 £[k — ] is a possible 
restoration at IG i 3 260, iii. 2. 86 In the third list M \Xea[ioi] appear, with 
the quota lost (IG i 3 261, ii.28). In the fourth list no Milesians are 

81 The language used to express the relationship between the superior partner and the inferior 
partners in alliances is studied by Pistorius 1985 (a 98; on these formulae, 8-77). 

82 Published by Herrmann 1970 (e 34): he dates it 437/6 on the basis of Milet\. iii 1 22.90; the later 
date follows from Cavaignac 1924 (g ii) 311—14. 

83 Mattingly first championed 426/5 in e 44, 174-81; in c 144, 1 17 he suggests a later date for 

Herrmann’s decree. 84 Meritt 1972 (c 1 50). 85 Pierart 1974 (e 60). 

86 [rcp/iuAJiffj], retained in IG i 3 , is unlikely to be right, since they have for some time made a 
more secure appearance in the same list at ix.5. 

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preserved. In the fifth list Miletus is among those whose whole payment 
arrives late ( IG i 3 263, v.18); she seems not to have paid in 446; she 
appears, paying half the tribute she paid in 449, in and after 442. The 
normal view is that there was a first Milesian revolt in the late 450s, after 
which Athens continued to tolerate an oligarchic government; and a 
second in the 440s, after which a democracy was imposed but the tribute 
was reduced. However, the Athenian decree no longer seems incompat- 
ible with a democratic constitution, 87 and it has been suggested that there 
was a single revolt in the 450s, followed by the establishment of 
democracy. 88 It now looks as if there may have been a revolt about 450, 
but not earlier, and the tribute record certainly does not exclude a second 
revolt in the 440s; we cannot tell on which occasion the Athenians 
imposed a democracy. 

It is now clear, at any rate, that separate payment by a dependent 
community need not prove that the principal community was refusing to 
pay. In 1 974 a new fragment of the second list was published, from which 
we learn of two communities of Phocaeans: 89 <PoKaiis napa [,]e[.]*o is 
followed immediately by <Pokcu€s (IG i 3 260, viii.7-8; 9). In 450 there 
were payments from Ceos and, separately, from the city of Coresia, but in 
and after 449 there was a single payment from the whole of Ceos, larger 
than the total of the two payments in 450 (IG i 3 262, v.22, i. 2 1 ; 263, 
iv.21). Nor is absence from the lists as preserved always a sign of 
disaffection. Sigeum is first preserved in the quota-list of 449 (IG i 3 263, 
iv.25), but there is an Athenian decree of 45 1/0 (IG i 3 17) which praises it 
for its loyalty, presumably because it has resisted pressure from the 
Persians and/or its neighbours to be disloyal. 

But, although spotting defectors is a difficult exercise, except in cases 
where there is clear evidence of Athenian intervention, and we must 
continue to allow for the possibility that some members changed from 
ship-providing to tribute-paying about the end of the 450s, it is evident 
that there must have been a considerable amount of defection in these 
years, and that in dealing with it and trying to secure members against 
future trouble Athens was led to take steps impinging on what 
previously would have been regarded as the internal freedom of the 
member states. 

Plutarch writes of Pericles’ sending cleruchs (settlers who did not go 

* 7 The prosetairoi (religious functionaries found in a Milesian sacred law of 450/49, SIG 57), 
formerly restored in IG i 3 11.7, were eliminated by Bradeen and McGregor 1973 (c 121) 24-70. 
Details in the democratic constitution of Miletus are studied by Pierart 1983 and 1985 (e6i): it was 
not a carbon copy of the Athenian constitution. 

80 Gehrke 1980 (£31). For another attempt to accommodate the evidence, see Robertson 1987 (e 
70): in the 450s Miletus was divided, Athens supported the oligarchs in the city and enabled them get 
control of the countryside; in the 440s there was a revolt, after which Athens imposed a democracy. 

99 Camp 1974 (c 124) 314-18 no. 1. 

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as apoikoi, ‘colonists’, to found a totally independent state, but who 
retained some connexion with Athens 90 ) to the Chersonese, Naxos, 
Andros and Thrace, and to refound Sybaris in Italy as Thurii, in order to 
relieve the city of the unemployed, to rectify the poverty of the people 
and to provide a garrison which would prevent revolt among the allies 
(Per. 11.5-6). Urban unemployment is not likely to have been a problem 
in fifth-century Athens, but the cleruchies did provide land for Athenian 
citizens at the allies’ expense and serve as an informal garrison: 
presumably the allies which had cleruchies inflicted on them are allies 
which had provoked Athenian interference. Diodorus mentions cleru- 
chies in the Chersonese, Euboea and Naxos (xi.88.3): his year is 453/2; it 
is his last mention of Athens in Book xi; the settlements in Euboea and 
Naxos are attributed to Tolmides, who was killed at Coronea in 447/6 

Again, help can be obtained from the tribute record. Carystus, in 
Euboea, paid 12 talents in 45 3 ( IG i 3 259, ii.16: part of the new fragment), 
but only 7I talents in 450 (IG i 3 262, i.23) and only 5 in 449 (IG i 3 263, 
iv.26) and after. Reduced tribute is likely to reflect reduced ability to pay, 
and so it may be inferred that the cleruchy was sent in 45 3/2 or 452/1, and 
that the further reduction of tribute in 449 was made in response to a plea 
that the original reduction had been insufficient. 91 Andros first appears in 
the quota-list of 450, with a tribute of 12 talents (IG i 3 262, i. 1 9), but in 
449 (IG I 3 263, iv.22) and subsequent years it paid only 6 talents, so we 
may infer that the cleruchy was sent in 450 and Andros’ tribute was 
reduced to allow for this. Naxos is perhaps to be restored in 449, but 
makes its first certain appearance in 447 (IG 13 263, iv.35; 264, ifi.25), 
paying 6^ talents, a surprisingly small sum for so large and prosperous an 
island. It is not likely to have remained a ship-provider after its early 
revolt, 92 so it may be that there was further trouble about the middle of 
the century, followed by the sending of the cleruchy mentioned by 
Plutarch and reduction of the tribute to the level attested in 447. The 
settlements in the Chersonese and in Thrace cannot be placed so early, 93 
and the foundation of Thurii was an altogether different kind of 
operation, 94 but it is likely that Athens’ policy of imposing cleruchies on 
recalcitrant allies began, in Euboea, Andros and Naxos, at the end of the 
450s. 95 

It has been argued that, although the Athenians did not set out with 
the intention of founding an empire, from the earliest years of the Delian 
League they found themselves taking decisions which led to their 

90 On the distinction between cleruchies and colonies see Brunt 1966 (e 13) 71—82. 

91 For this sequence of events see Erxleben 1975 (e 23) 85—7. 

92 Cf. above, p. 56 with n. 77. 93 Cf. pp. 127-9. 94 Cf. pp. 14 1—3. 

95 The early cleruchies are discussed by Meiggs 12 1-4 (cf. Meiggs 1943 (e 51) 31—3, and 1963 (e 
52) 8-9). 

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furthering Athens’ particular interests as well as driving back the 
Persians from the Greek world, and to their strengthening the position 
of Athens within the League. The democracy of Ephialtes tried to 
continue the war against Persia, in Cyprus and Egypt, and at the same 
time to extend Athens’ power in Greece itself, but the attempt to keep 
Egypt out of Persian hands ended in disaster, and the gains in Greece 
were to prove insecure. After the failure in Egypt, Athens had to cope 
with revolts from allies whose allegiance she must have come to take for 
granted: in suppressing these revolts she carried Athenian interference 
into areas of life where the allies’ freedom had not previously been 
disturbed, and expressed her leadership in ways which suggest that she 
was beginning to think of the League not as a free alliance but as an 
empire which she could use as she wished. The climax of this transforma- 
tion of the League was reached with the abandonment of the League’s 
original objective, war against Persia — but that belongs to another 
chapter . 96 

96 See pp. 1 21-7. 

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We have little enough evidence for the external history of the Greek 
cities between the Persian Wars and the Peloponnesian War; we have less 
for the internal history even of Athens. Thucydides provides infor- 
mation only on Themistocles: his clash with Sparta over the rebuilding 
of Athens’ walls (1.90—2), and the story of his ostracism and his flight to 
the Persians (1. 1 35—8). The Athenaion Politeia tells us of a period of good 
government in which the Areopagus was predominant (23.1—2); and of 
the leadership of Themistocles and Aristides, the foundation of the 
Delian League and the resulting provision of trophe (maintenance) for 
the Athenians (23.2—24); then follow Ephialtes’ attack on the Areopagus 
and (probably an addition to the original text) an anecdote associating 
Themistocles with him in that attack (25). The aristocrats had no leader 
except Cimon, and the constitution became ‘slacker’ (26.1); in the 450s 
the archonship was opened to the % eugitai (the third of the four property 
classes), the dikastai kata demons (deme judges) were revived, and the law 
of Pericles was enacted, which limited citizenship to those whose parents 
were both Athenians (26.2—4); Pericles attacked the Areopagus and 
fostered Athens’ naval power; to rival Cimon’s generosity with his own 
wealth he used the state’s wealth to introduce payment for jury service 
(27). There are short lives by Nepos of Themistocles, Aristides and 
Cimon, and longer lives by Plutarch of these three and of Pericles. 
Plutarch’s Themistocles , after telling stories of him in Athens after the 
Persian Wars (20-22.3), writes at length of his downfall and his flight to 
Asia (22.4—31.3); Aristides proposes an extension of democracy and 
pronounces on a suggestion of Themistocles (22), organizes the Delian 
League (23—25.3), ends his life in virtuous poverty and does not join in 
the attack on Themistocles (25.3-27); Cimon puts his wealth to political 
use and takes a conservative line in politics (10), commands in the 
campaigns of the Delian League until he is prosecuted after the Thasian 

The basic text was drafted in 1979-80; I have tried to add references to some of the substantial later 
bibliography. Most of the topics are treated at greater length in Rhodes 1981 (c 83). 


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war (6-9, 1 1— 14), clashes with Ephialtes over support for Sparta and the 
powers of the Areopagus, and is ostracized (15— 17.3), tries to return at 
the battle of Tanagra and dies on a final campaign in Cyprus (17.4— 19); 
Pericles takes a democratic line, using jury pay to counter Cimon’s 
generosity and joining in the attack on the Areopagus (7, 9), and the 
story of Cimon at Tanagra is followed by a digression on Pericles’ 
prosecution of Cimon and a denial that Pericles could be the murderer of 
Ephialtes (10.6-8). 

Themistocles, the creator of Athens’ new fleet and the man respon- 
sible for the decision to fight at Salamis, 1 is not found with the fleet again 
after 480: Xanthippus commanded in 479, Aristides in 478, and Cimon 
thereafter. In various matters Themistocles and Cimon may be seen as 
opponents. Themistocles was responsible for the rebuilding of Athens’ 
walls after the Persian Wars, in the face of Spartan objections, and there 
are other stories of his coming into conflict with Sparta, though in 
480/79 he was better received there than any other foreigner (Hdt. 
viii. 1 24— 5); but Cimon gave the name Lacedaemonius to a son born in 
the 470s, 2 and was eager to help Sparta in the Third Messenian War. The 
two men differed in their interpretation of Athens’ recent history. The 
expulsion of the tyrant Hippias in 5 10 had been due to the Alcmaeonid 
family and Sparta: the pro-Spartan Cimon had married an Alcmaeonid 
wife about 480, and was presumably happy to acknowledge this debt; 
but his relative Thucydides complains that the Athenians gave the credit 
for ending the tyranny to Harmodius and Aristogeiton, who had 
murdered Hipparchus in 5 14 (1.20.2, vi.54— 9), and the epigram on the 
base of the new statues of these men set up in 477/6 to replace those taken 
by the Persians was by Themistocles’ friend Simonides. 3 There was 
dispute also as to whether Athens owed her salvation from the Persians 
primarily to the victory at Marathon, won by the army and Cimon’s 
father Miltiades, or to that at Salamis, won by the fleet and Themisto- 
cles. 4 Themistocles was clever, and had successfully interpreted a 
Delphic oracle when he insisted on fighting at Salamis: Plutarch tells 
stories in which Cimon outdid Themistocles in cleverness ( Cim . 5.1,9), 
and Cimon interpreted a Delphic oracle commanding the Athenians to 
bring back the bones of Theseus, and brought a skeleton from Scyros. 5 
Themistocles was responsible for rebuilding the city walls after the war, 
but the spoils won by Cimon at the Eurymedon paid for the building of 

* Cf. CAH iv 2 524-5, 571—6. 2 Date: Davies 1971 (l 27) 305. 

3 On the ending of the tyranny, see CAH tv 2 299-302; on defenders of the claims of the 
Aicmaeonids and of Harmodius and Aristogeiton see Podlecki 1966 (d 69). 

4 PL Leg. rv, 707b4~c7; Fornara 1966(0 28) 5 1—3; and cf. below, p. 67, on Aeschylus’ Persae (but a 
further block of M— L 26, with additional verses, renders pre-1988 descriptions of that inscription 
out of date). 5 See Podlecki 1971 (o 70). 

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the south wall of the Acropolis (Plut. Cim. 13.5); and each man is 
credited with other public works too. 6 

Xanthippus is not heard of again after 479: since his son Pericles was 
choregos to Aeschylus in 472 he was presumably dead by then. Aristides 
survived, but is hard to place. In the main tradition he is consistently the 
rival of Themistocles, aristocratic and upright where Themistocles was 
democratic and cunning, and Plutarch’s Cimon makes him an associate of 
Cimon (5.6, 10.8); but there are traces of an alternative version which 
placed Aristides on the same side as Themistocles after the war: in the 
story of the walls and in other stories of Themistocles, Aristides appears 
as his confidant, in Ath. Pol. 23.2—24 Aristides is the partner of 
Themistocles and founder of the league which provided trophe for the 
Athenian demos, and in Plutarch’s Aristides (25.10), although Themisto- 
cles had been responsible for his ostracism, Aristides did not join in the 
final attack on him; the summary of the narrative in Ath. Pol. (41.2) 
makes Aristides the predecessor of Ephialtes in advancing the democ- 
racy, and Plutarch’s Aristides (22.1) makes him the author after the war 
of a decree that the constitution should be ‘common’ and the archontes 
chosen from all Athenians. Before the war against Xerxes, Aristides was 
a rival of Themistocles ; 7 after his organization of the Delian League 
there is no evidence of his further involvement in public affairs, and the 
texts linking him with Themistocles rather than Cimon are the more 
circumstantial and credible. 

Apart from Plutarch’s attribution of a democratic reform to Aristides, 
not mentioned elsewhere and clearly fictitious, there is no evidence that 
how the Athenian state ought to be governed was a live issue in the 470s. 
Ath. Pol. 23. 1—2 tells of a period ofAreopagite ascendancy, saying that it 
was based not on any resolution but on prestige. This, too, is to be 
connected with the rivalry arising out of the Persian Wars: Plutarch 
{Them. 10. 6—7) cites both Ath. Polls story that, when Athens was 
evacuated before Salamis and the generals were at a loss, the Areopagus 
provided money for the citizens, and the alternative account of Clidemus 
{FGrH 323 f 21), that Themistocles provided the money by searching 
men’s luggage. Probably Ath. Polls is the original version of the story, 
an attempt by Themistocles’ opponents to give the Areopagus some of 

6 For instance, in the case of Cimon, the Theseum built to house Theseus' bones (on which see 
Barron 1972 (1 9)), the Stoa Poikile (Thompson and Wycherley 1972(1 166) 90-4; cf. Plut. Cim. 4.6- 
7) and the Telesterion and other work immediately after the Persian Wars at Gleusis (e.g. Mylonas 
1962 (k 66) 107-13) are ascribed to him, though without positive evidence (Shear, 1982 (r 1 5 i) dates 
the ‘Cimonian’ Telesterion in the 480s). Themistocles was responsible for the temple of Artemis 
Aristoboule (Travlos 1971 (1 1 7 1 ) 1 2 1—3 ; cf. Plut. Them. iz.2—$ > Demai.Hdi. 869 d), the Telesterion 
at Phyla (Plut. Them. 1.4), and possibly some work on the Odeon (Vitr. De Arch, v.9.1, with 
Davison 1958 (k 21) 33— 42 and 1962 (k 2i)(= Davison 1968 (j 20) 48-66, 66-9), but Themistocles is 
not mentioned by Travlos 1971 (1 171) 587). 7 Cf. CAH iv 2 343—4. 

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the credit for Salamis, and Clidemus’ is a reply restoring the credit to 
Themistocles. 8 In the 470s most of the Areopagites will have been men 
who were appointed archons after the fall of the tyranny, by direct 
election from the two highest property classes, 9 and the Council of the 
Areopagus will thus have been a fairly distinguished collection of 
Athenians. It retained judicial powers of political importance, and it may 
— we have no evidence — on occasions have debated matters of public 
concern and given advice to the magistrates or to the Council of Five 
Hundred and the Assembly. However, there is no reason why the 
Areopagus should have been more powerful in the 470s than it had been 
in the 480s, and probably the tradition of a period of Areopagite 
ascendancy was built up later with the help of the Salamis story, when it 
was known that Ephialtes had put an end to the political power of the 
Areopagus, to explain why such a reform should have been necessary. 

Themistocles and Cimon were rivals as individuals, and stood for 
different views of Athens’ recent history and different views of the 
foreign policy which Athens ought to pursue. This rivalry culminated in 
the ostracism of Themistocles, and his subsequent condemnation on a 
charge of medism (treacherous support for the Persians). The story of his 
flight is told by Thucydides (1.135-8), and was repeated, with 
variations and elaborations, by many later writers. According to 
Thucydides, Themistocles when ostracized went to live in Argos, and 
visited other places in the Peloponnese; after the death of Pausanias the 
Spartans sent messengers to Athens alleging that the two men were 
together guilty of medism, and Themistocles on learning of this fled 
from Argos (Thucydides does not mention that he was prosecuted in 
absentia-, according to Craterus, FGrH 342 F 11, the prosecutor was an 
Alcmaeonid). He went first to the west, to Corcyra and then to Epirus; 
Admetus of the Molossi refused either to surrender him to his pursuers 
or to let him stay, and sent him across northern Greece to Pydna. From 
Pydna he took a ship to Asia Minor, travelling incognito; but a storm 
carried the ship towards Naxos while the Athenians were besieging the 
city, and Themistocles had to reveal his identity to the captain and urge 
him not to betray him; the captain did not put in to land but kept the ship 
riding at anchor, and in due course brought Themistocles safely to 
Ephesus. Themistocles wrote to Artaxerxes, who had recently suc- 
ceeded Xerxes, and set about learning Persian; after a year he went to 
meet the Great King, and the man who had contributed so much to the 
defeat of the Persian invasion of 480 ended his life as an honoured 

8 It appears that these two versions of the story underlie successive examples in Arist. Pol. v, 
1504217—24; Ath. Pol. solves the problem by making the Areopagite ascendancy a short-term and 
the development of the Delian League to Athens’ advantage a long-term consequence of Salamis 
(with the democratic version of the story suppressed). 9 Cf. CAH iv 2 520. 

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pensioner of the Persians. Ironically, there is no firm evidence and little 
likelihood that he was guilty of medism at any time before his arrival in 
Asia Minor. 

The chronology of Themistocles’ flight has been endlessly dis- 
cussed. 10 He is last attested in Athens as choregos in the spring of 476 (Plut. 
Them. 5.5), and his appearance at Olympia (Plut. Them. 5.4, 17.4, cf. Ael. 
VH xiii. 43, Paus. viii. 50. 3) should belong to the summer of that year. 
The most reliable detail in the story of his flight is that he met the new 
Persian king, Artaxerxes, who came to the throne in 465 ; n Ephorus and 
other later writers made Themistocles approach Xerxes, the king whom 
he had defeated in 480, but Thucydides’ less exciting version was rightly 
preferred by both Nepos (Them. 9.1) and Plutarch (Them. 27.1—2). The 
death of Pausanias, which preceded the accusation of medism and 
Themistocles’ flight from Argos, is more easily placed after than before 
470, 12 and so supports this conclusion. The text of Thucydides takes 
Themistocles from Pydna past Naxos to Ephesus; but Plutarch (Them. 
25.2—26.1), while claiming to follow Thucydides, takes him past Tha- 
sos, 13 while the Athenians were besieging that city, to Cyme (which 
arouses suspicion as the home of Ephorus, to which that writer gave as 
much publicity as he could: cf. FGrH 70 f 236). Thucydides gives us no 
dates in his sketch of the growth of the Delian League: the siege of 
Thasos can be dated 465/4 -463/2, 14 but that of Naxos is insecure; if we 
accept Thucydides’ route the siege of Naxos can hardly be earlier than c. 
466, and nothing that Thucydides says conflicts with that date, but most 
of those who have wrestled with the chronology of the Pentekontaetia 
have placed it some years earlier. 15 Perhaps it is wrong to assume that 
either Thucydides’ route or Plutarch’s route must be correct: it is 
certainly true that Themistocles in crossing the Aegean will have to take 
care not to fall into the hands of the Athenians, and the alternative routes 
may be no more than rival attempts to make of this a story with 
convincing details. 

Ostracism entailed banishment for ten years, and we do not know how 
long a period elapsed between Themistocles’ ostracism and his flight 
from Argos. Diodorus narrates the whole story under the year 471/0 
(xi.54— 9), and many have been anxious to believe that one episode in the 
story was known to belong to that year; but in this part of his history 
Diodorus found only one major story to tell under each year, and in view 
of his demonstrable errors in the 430s 16 it would be unwise to assume 

10 On the flight of Themistocles see in general Podlecki 1975 (d 71) 37-44; Lenardon 1978(047) 
108—5 35 maximum scepticism is displayed by Rhodes 1970 (c 82). 

11 See p. 13 n. 47. 12 Cf. p. 46. 

13 Only one MS has ©aaov , but it is supported by Cyme as the destination, and Na£ov in the 
others is probably a correction made from Thucydides; see Flaceliere 1953 (d 27) 6-7. 

!4 Cf. p. 45. 15 Cf. pp. 44—6. 16 Cf. p. 7. 

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that he had any justification for assigning the fall of Themistocles to this 
year. In the spring of 472 Aeschylus produced a set of tragedies including 
the Persae, Pericles being the choregos. The play treats of the Persians’ 
defeat at Salamis as experienced by the Persians at Susa: Salamis was the 
greatest achievement of the Athenians in the war against Xerxes, but it 
was specifically the achievement of Themistocles and Aristides (though 
neither is named in the play); at a time when Salamis was being invoked 
in the rivalry between Themistocles and Cimon it is hard to believe that a 
tragedian whose sympathies were not with Themistocles would have 
chosen to write a play on this theme. 17 However, Themistocles had 
become a controversial figure before his ostracism and remained so 
afterwards: we cannot say whether he was ostracized before or after the 
production of the Persae , 18 and the exact date of his ostracism must 
remain an unsolved problem. 

By the ostracism and condemnation of Themistocles, Cimon’s chief 
rival was eliminated. In the spring of 468 an unusual honour was paid to 
Cimon. Plutarch reports (Cim. 8.7-9) that at the Dionysia in that year the 
archon did not appoint the usual judges of the tragic contest but called 
on Cimon and his fellow-generals to act as judges: although Aeschylus 
was competing, they awarded the prize to Sophocles, competing for the 
first time. It may have been clear that Sophocles’ were the better plays, 
but if Aeschylus was a champion of Themistocles it was politically 
appropriate that Cimon and his colleagues should refuse him the prize. 


It is used to be thought that the Supplices was the earliest surviving play 
of Aeschylus, but in 1952 a papyrus fragment was published which 
shows that the tetralogy of which that formed a part won the first prize 
on an occasion when plays by Sophocles won the second prize, ini ap — 
(P. Oxj. xx. 2256, fr. 3). If Sophocles competed for the first time in 468, 
the Supplices is later than that, and if ap is the beginning of an archon’s 
-name rather than of apxovros, the only possible year is 464/3, the 

17 Persae a patriotic Athenian play, Lattimore 1943 (j 61); a defence of Themistocles, Podlecki 
1966 (j 87) 8-26; possibly hostile to Themistocles, Lenardon 1978 (d 47) 12 1-5. 

18 Lenardon ( loc . eit.) abandoned his earlier view (Lenardon 1959 (b 7) 29 with nn. 3 3-4) that the 
play was a defence of Themistocles after his ostracism; before his ostracism, Podlecki 1966 (j 87) 1 2 
with 157 n. ix. 

19 This chapter was written before the appearance of Ostwald 1986 (a 96). He discusses major 
trials in the early fifth century and the reforms of Ephialtes on pp. 28—53; chief difference 
between us is that he believes that capital sentences by the Areopagus were made subject to ephesis 
c. 500 (cf. below, p. 72 n. 31), and he therefore attaches less importance than I do to Ephialtes* 
removal of what remained of the Areopagus* jurisdiction in this field. For another recent study of 
the Ephialtic reform see Wallace 1989 (d 105) 72-93. 

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archonship of Archedemides. 20 Supplices is a play set in the heroic period, 
in which the fifty daughters of Danaus flee with him from Egypt, to 
avoid incestuous marriage with the fifty sons of his brother Aegyptus, 
and seek sanctuary with king Pelasgus of Argos; attempts to see in this a 
reflection of the flight of Themistocles from Argos 21 are implausible. 
However, Pelasgus is a remarkably unkingly king: he is not immediately 
recognizable as king at his first appearance (11. 247-8), and throughout 
the central part of the play it is emphasized that the decision to accept or 
reject the suppliants must be taken not by the king but by an assembly of 
the people ( 11 . 365-523, 600-24). This is not required by the legend , and 
can hardly be accidental: the play is not crude propaganda for democ- 
racy, but it does display a sympathetic interest in the view that the demos 
ought to be sovereign. 22 How the state ought to be governed, apparently 
not a live issue immediately after the war, had now become one. 
Aeschylus in 472 had extolled the achievements of Themistocles and 
Aristides, and Pericles, the future leader of the democracy, had been his 
choregos\ in 468 he had been passed over by Cimon and his colleagues in 
favour of the novice Sophocles; in 463 he gave his sympathetic attention 
to the theme of democracy. These three instances all point in the same 
direction, and Aeschylus may be ranked with the believers in popular 
sovereignty and the opponents of Cimon. 

Shortly after the production of the Supplices we have the first sign of an 
attack on Cimon. He commanded the Athenians in their successful siege 
of Thasos (465/4-463/2), but on his return to Athens it was alleged that 
he had been bribed not to attack Macedon. He was prosecuted, a board 
of ten prosecutors being elected for the purpose; Pericles was one of the 
prosecutors, and the story was told by Stesimbrotus that Cimon’s sister 
Elpinice tried to plead with him and that he was in fact the least insistent 
of the prosecutors (Plut. Cim. 14. 3-1 5.1; Per. 10.6). It is said that Sparta 
had promised without the Athenians’ knowledge to support Thasos by 
invading Attica, but had been prevented by the great earthquake of 464 
and the outbreak of the Third Messenian War (Thuc. i.ioi.i— 2). Athens 
was still an ally of Sparta, by virtue of the alliance made when Xerxes’ 
invasion was imminent (cf. 102.4), and Sparta appealed for help to 
Athens and her other allies. Thucydides reports that Cimon was sent 
with a substantial army (102.1); Aristophanes specifies four thousand 
hoplites {L.js. 1 138—44); Plutarch tells us that this was a contentious issue 
in Athens, with Ephialtes not wanting to help a rival city but Cimon 
claiming that it would be wrong to make Greece lame or deprive Athens 
of her yoke-fellow (Cim. 16.9-10, citing Critias and Ion). 

20 See especially Lesky 1954 (j 64). 

21 Cavaignac 1921 (d 12); cf. Forrest i960 (f 24) 239-40, Podlecki 1966 (j 87) 42-62. 

22 Cf. Podlecki loc. cit. 

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The Third Messenian War presents another of the notorious chrono- 
logical cruces of the Pentekontaetia , 23 Thucydides, if our text is sound, 
says that the war ended in the tenth year (1.103.1), but events which he 
mentions before and after were less than ten years apart: apparently this 
was recognized as a problem in antiquity, and behind the narrative of 
Plutarch, in which Cimon twice went to the Peloponnese and twice 
returned to Athens ( Cim . 17. 1-3), there may be rival accounts with 
different chronologies. The Spartans were afraid of the daring and 
radicalism ( neoteropoiia ) of the Athenians, suspected that they would be 
persuaded by the rebels to take radical action (neoieri^ein), and so, 
claiming that they had no further need of them, sent them home; the 
Athenians reacted by breaking off their alliance with Sparta and making 
alliances with Sparta’s enemies, Argos and Thessaly (Thuc. 1. 102. 3-4). 
Plutarch, after mentioning his prosecution and acquittal, says that when 
Cimon sailed off on another campaign Ephialtes accomplished his 
reform of the Areopagus, and Cimon on his return tried to upset the 
reform and revive ‘the aristocracy of Cleisthenes’ time’, but he was 
attacked by his enemies, who referred to scandals concerning his sister 
and to his lakonismos (support for Sparta), and inflamed the demos against 
him {Cim. 15); then follow a passage on Cimon’s friendship for Sparta 
and the account of his helping Sparta against the Messenians (16-17.3); 
when Sparta dismissed the Athenian army the Athenians were angry 
with the laconizers and, ‘seizing on a small excuse’ (perhaps a pro- 
Cimonian view of his dismissal by Sparta), ostracized him (17.3). In the 
Pericles Plutarch links the reform of the Areopagus by Ephialtes with the 
ostracism of Cimon as philolakon (pro-Spartan) and misodemos (anti- 
democratic) (9.5). Cimon will not have taken his hoplites to Messenia by 
sea, but probably when Plutarch writes that he ‘sailed off on another 
campaign’ and that the reform was enacted in his absence {Cim. 1 5.2) he 
is in fact referring to that expedition; and what particularly made the 
Spartans fear the neoteropoiia of their Athenian allies will have been the 
news that in Athens Ephialtes, known to have opposed the expedition, 
was now in control. Hoplites as well as thetes stood to gain from the 
reform of the Areopagus, and the absence of four thousand hoplites will 
not necessarily have tipped the balance in the Assembly; but Cimon was 
opposed to the reform, and, unsatisfactory as Plutarch’s narrative is, his 
statement that the reform occurred while Cimon was away from Athens 
need not be rejected. 24 

Ephialtes is a man about whom hardly anything is known. His father 

23 Cf. p. 500. 

24 See, in favour of this chronology, Busolt 1893-1904 (a 12) m.i. 261 with n. 1, Hignett 1952 (d 
38) 196, 337-41, Cole 1974 (d tj); arguing that Cimon’s dismissal preceded the reform, Beloch 
1912-27 (a 2) H. 1. 1 5 3, 11.2.196-8, Walker CAHv* 71, 467-8, Jacoby, FGrHm bsuppl. ii 369-700. 
l 7- 

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was called Sophonides (a name not found on any ostraca); like Aristides 
he is described as upright ( Ath . Pol. 25.1), and like Aristides he is 
included in a list of leading statesmen who were not rich (Ael. KH 11.43 , 
xi. 9, xiii. 39); he once commanded a naval expedition (Plut. Cim. 13.4). 
In Ath. Pol. 25.3—4 he and Themistocles are said to have combined to 
attack the Areopagus, but 25.2 dates the reform to 462/1 and Themisto- 
cles must have left Athens long before ; 3 5 . 2 mentions the annulment by 
the Thirty in 404 of the laws of Ephialtes and a not securely identifiable 
Archestratus; Plutarch mentions Pericles as a supporter of Ephialtes 
{Cim. 15.2; Per. 9.5, 10.7: he will have been a little over thirty in 462/1), 
and the separate reform of the Areopagus attributed to Pericles in Ath. 
Pol. 27.1 is probably a distortion of this fact. 25 
We read in Ath. Pol. 25.2 that Ephialtes 

first eliminated many of the Ateopagites, bringing them to trial over their 
administration. Then in the archonship of Conon he stripped off from the 
Council all the accretions ( epitheta ) on which its guardianship of the state 
depended, giving some to the five hundred and some to the demos and the law 

(The trials of individuals were probably for misconduct as archons. 26 ) 
According to Plutarch {Cim. 15.2), 

the many were finally unleashed, and overturned the existing order in the state 
and the traditional observances which they had previously followed, and with 
Ephialtes as leader they took away from the Council of the Areopagus all but a 
few of its judicial functions {kriseis), making themselves masters of the law 
courts and pitching the city into undiluted democracy. 

The account of Ath. Pol. is favourable to the reformers, while that of 
Plutarch is hostile; and probably the language which they use derives 
from the propaganda of the time: the powers of which Ephialtes 
deprived the Areopagus were regarded as accretions by the reformers, as 
part of the established order by the conservatives. 27 These powers were 
primarily judicial, and they had given the Areopagus a ‘guardianship of 
the state’. This role of the Areopagus is mentioned by Ath. Pol. in its 
account of the pre-Draconian constitution (3.6), in the supposed 
constitution of Draco (4.4), and in the account of Solon’s constitutional 
laws (8.4), but we are nowhere told precisely what powers it entailed. 
Some have supposed that it was a specific power, possibly a power of 

25 Arist. Pol. 11, 127437-8 would be compatible either with separate reforms by Ephialtes and 
Pericles or with a joint reform. 

26 Wade-Gery 1936/7 (d 102) 269= 1958 (a 121) 177. 

27 A fragment of Lysias (178 Sauppe, ap. Harp. iiriOcrovs copras) shows that the Areopagus was 
discussed in the same terms c. 400; Davies 1978 (a 23) 69-70 compares an inscription of the 450s ( IG 
l 3 7) which defines what things are traditional for the priestly clan of the Praxiergidae. 

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quashing improper decrees of the Assembly, as later there was a 
democratic way of quashing improper decrees through the graphe 
paranomon (charge of making an illegal proposal ); 28 others have thought 
that it was a comprehensive description of the various powers of the 
Areopagus as a body entrusted with the enforcement of the laws . 29 It 
appears from Ath. Pol. that the Areopagus had long been referred to in 
this way: perhaps this language was first used, when the laws were first 
written down by Draco or even earlier, to provide a comprehensive 
description of the Areopagus’ judicial powers, and in the course of time, 
as circumstances altered, this description and the prestige of the 
Areopagites were used to justify its enforcing the laws in new ways, 
without explicit authority. If this is so, we can understand how these 
powers came to be rejected as accretions by some but defended as part of 
the established order by others. 

But we have still to discover what powers Ephialtes took away from 
the Areopagus. Two possibilities may be suggested. First, the magis- 
trates of Classical Athens were subject to frequent checks on their 
conduct: before entering office they had to undergo a vetting process 
called dokimasia {Ath. Pol. 5 5 . 2); after leaving office they had to present 
their accounts, and submit to a more general examination called euthjnai 
(54.2; 48.4—5); while in office they had to present interim accounts each 
prytany (i.e. each tenth of the year), and each prytany the Assembly held 
a vote of confidence in the authorities (48.3; 43.4, 61.2). There are signs 
that dokimasia and euthjnai were ancient institutions, and the body most 
likely to have conducted these examinations, and any other examinations 
that there may have been, of at any rate the principal magistrates in early 
Athens, is the Areopagus; such oversight of the magistrates would have 
given it considerable political power. 30 Secondly, Solon’s laws included 
one on the prosecution before the Areopagus, by eisangelia (impeach- 
ment), of ‘those who conspired for the dissolution of the demos’ {Ath. 
Pol. 8.4: Solon is more likely to have referred to setting up a tyranny than 
to dissolving the demos , but the basic fact may be accepted); eisangelia was 
used also for treason, for taking bribes to speak contrary to the interests 
of Athens, and perhaps for public wrongs not explicitly forbidden by 
law; in Classical Athens these eisangeliai were tried by the Council of Five 
Hundred and the Assembly, or the Five Hundred and a law court. How 
certain charges in the early fifth century came to be tried by the demos has 

25 E.g. Wade-Gery 1933 (d ioi) 24 with n. 3= 1958 (a 121) 146 with n. 4. 

29 E.g. Hignett 1952 (d 38) 208-9; Cawkwell 1988 (d 14) interprets the Areopagus’ guardianship 
of the laws as a cura morum. 

30 Cf. Lipsius 1 905-1 5 (a 78) 37; Hignett 1952 (d 38) 90-1, 203-8 (not accepting dokimasiai by the 

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7 2 


been disputed, but it is likely that until 462/1 eisangeliai to the Areopagus 
remained possible, and that Ephialtes abolished this possibility. 31 

If the Areopagus had claimed the right to quash decrees of the 
Assembly, this too must have been abolished: but the democratic graphe 
paranomon is not attested until 41 5 (Andoc. 1. Myst. 1 7), and although it is 
possible that the earlier silence of our sources is accidental it is by no 
means necessary; 32 probably this is not a right which the Areopagus had 
claimed. By the second half of the fifth century, contested lawsuits went 
not to Solon’s heiiaia (a judicial session of the Assembly) on appeal from 
the verdict of a magistrate but to one of a number of dikasteria (jury- 
courts) after a preliminary enquiry by a magistrate: it is has been 
suggested that this change was made by Ephialtes; 33 but more probably 
there was a gradual development rather than an abrupt reform, though 
the new procedure will have had to be standardized, and that can hardly 
have been done much later than 462/1. 34 A passage derived from the 
third-century historian of Athens, Philochorus, states that a board of 
seven (law-guardians) was established at the time of 
Ephialtes’ reform ( FGrH 328 f 64b(a)); but the first contemporary 
evidence for this board comes from speeches by Dinarchus in the late 
320s (f 64a), and the attribution to Ephialtes must be a mistake. One 
other change, however, needs to be postulated: if the judicial activities of 
the Areopagus had been based on its title of guardian of the laws, it must 
have lost that title; a purely negative measure is unlikely, but it may have 
been stated that in future the Council of Five Hundred and the demos 
were to be guardians of the laws. The powers which the Areopagus is 
known to have retained after the reform were further judicial powers, in 
connexion with intentional homicide, wounding and arson, damage to 
the sacred olive trees, and certain other religious offences (Lys. vii. 01 . 
22; Dem. xxiii. Arist. 22; [Dem.] lix. Neaer. 79-80; Ath. Pol. 57.3, 60.2). 

The Areopagus was a council of ex-archons. In the sixth century the 
archonship had been the most important office of the Athenian state; but 

31 On eisangelia see Rhodes 1972 (d 75) 162—71, 199— 205, and 1979(0 77); Hansen 1975 (d jo)and 
1980(033); Sealey 1981 (o 8 8); Cara wan 1987(0 1 1). Hansen believes that eisangelia was a democratic 
institution introduced by Cleisthenes; some have thought that it was Cleisthenes who took the 
hearing of eisangeliai from the Areopagus (Lipsius 1905—15 (a 78) 179—81), or that Cleisthenes 
allowed prosecution before the demos as an alternative to prosecution before the Areopagus (Bonner 
and Smith 1930-8 (a 8) t 299-300), or that Cleisthenes required confirmation of the Areopagus’ 
verdicts by the demos (Ostwald in CAH iv 2 330-3). Sealey argues that eisangelia was regulated by 
custom rather than by law; 1 sympathize, and agree that it originated thus, but believe that a law of 
Solon provided for eisangelia to the Areopagus in cases of attempted tyranny (without necessarily 
providing a complete law of eisangelia), and that Ephialtes took away from the Areopagus the right 
to hear eisangeliai. Cara wan studies eisangelia and euthynai in the light of the major trials of the early 
fifth century. 

32 Cf. Wolff 1 970 (a 127) 15-22. 33 Wade-Gery 1958 (a 121) 180-200. 

34 Sealey 1964(0 87) 14-18 = 1967 (a 111)46-52; MacDowell 1978 (a 81) 33 doubts whether the 
old procedure was ever forbidden. 

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in 487/6 sortition from an elected short list ( klerosis ek prokriton) had 
replaced direct election, and in the fifth century the generals overtook 
the archons in prestige and importance: 35 a powerful Areopagus thus 
became increasingly hard to justify. The new organization given to the 
Athenian state by Cleisthenes required a considerable degree of partici- 
pation by the citizens, both at polis level and at local level, and we may 
assume that the Athenians came to enjoy their share in the political 
process and to want a larger share. 36 Thus it need cause no surprise that 
the powers of the Areopagus came to be challenged. There may have 
been a more specific stimulus for the challenge in two decisions given by 
the Areopagus in the course of the 460s. The procedure of eisangelia 
would have been appropriate for the prosecution of Themistocles on a 
charge of medism, and according to Craterus that was the procedure 
used ( FGrH 342 f i i); Cimon’s euthynai would have been an appropriate 
occasion for his prosecution on a charge of taking bribes as a general, and 
according to Ath. Pol. (27.1) that was the occasion of his prosecution; 
both of these charges may have been tried by the Areopagus, and a trial 
of Themistocles by the Areopagus underlies the (implausible) anecdote 
in Ath. Pol. 25.3—4. Themistocles appears to have been innocent, and on 
Cimon’s guilt we cannot pronounce, but Themistocles was condemned 
and Cimon was acquitted: if the Areopagus was consistently giving 
verdicts in favour of Cimon and his supporters, their opponents may 
well have been prompted to ask by what right it occupied so influential a 
position in the state. 

Present-day historians have been less willing than their predecessors 
to ascribe to ancient politicians doctrinaire views on how their states 
should be governed, and have preferred to look for other explanations of 
their actions. What happened in 462/1 in Athens can certainly be 
represented as the victory of the Themistocles-Ephialtes— Pericles set 
over the Cimon-Alcmaeonid set. 37 The victory was marked by a change 
in foreign policy: Athens abandoned the friendship with Sparta of the 
last thirty years, and extended her ambition to the whole Greek world; 
some have suggested that this was Ephialtes’ primary objective and that 
the reform of the Areopagus was incidental to its achievement. 38 But it is 
wrong to play down the importance of the constitutional reform. By the 

>5 Cf. CAH iv 2 333. 

36 According to Ath. Pol. 22.3 the institution of ostracism was used after Marathon, ‘the demos 
now being confident’; on the growing confidence of the demos see below, pp. 90-1. 

37 On the politics of the Alcmaeonids in the fifth century, see Forrest i960 (f 24) 233-4 ( contra 
Bicknell 1972 (o 6) 73-4). The ideological aspect of the reform is played down by Sealey 1964 (d 
87)= 1967 (a 11 1)42-58, Wallace 1974(0 104), Sealey 1981 (d 88), and studies cited in the next note. 

36 Cf. Ruschenbusch 1966 (d 81); Martin 1974(0 5 7), especially 29-40. Ruschenbusch 1979(0 82) 
argues that all constitutional changes to the end of the fifth century were made to achieve immediate 
objectives, particularly in foreign policy. By contrast, Thuc. v.3 1 .6, 44. 1 show foreign policy being 
influenced by constitutional dogmatism. 

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opening years of the Peloponnesian War the Athenians were proud of 
their democracy: the Athenaion Politeia of pseudo-Xenophon describes it 
as undesirable but effective (i . i), and the funeral oration of Pericles takes 
pride in it (Thuc. n.37); misodemos (‘hating the people’ and so anti- 
democratic, used of Citnon by Plutarch) is a word of abuse in Aristo- 
phanes ( Wasps 474, of 422); Sparta had come to be associated with 
oligarchy (cf. Thuc. 1.19), while Athens had come to be associated with 
democracy and had imposed democratic constitutions on various 
member states of the Delian League (on Erythrae, as early as the 450s: 
M— L 4 o = IG i 3 14). Aeschylus in his Supplices had emphasized the 
powers of the demos\ and in his Eumenides, in 45 8, he focused attention on 
the Areopagus as a homicide court: Athena’s speech instituting the 
Areopagus points to the good that it will do in this role, as long as the 
citizens do not introduce innovations or defilements in the laws, and 
ends by describing the Areopagus as a ‘wakeful guardian of the land on 
behalf of the sleeping’ (11. 68 1—7 10, esp. 704-6); later passages in the play 
point to a fear of civil war ( 11 . 858—66, 976-87). So far we have seen that 
Aeschylus is to be associated with the democrats, and many regard this 
presentation of the Areopagus as favourable to the reformers, but the 
allusion to the Areopagus as guardian and the warning against defiling 
the laws suggest rather that Aeschylus had come to regret the reform or 
to fear that the reformers might continue too far. 39 At any rate the 
Supplices and the Eumenides confirm that the powers of the demos and the 
position of the Areopagus in the state were serious issues at the time. 
Ephialtes and his supporters were also hostile to Sparta, and they may 
have been provoked by particular decisions of the Areopagus in favour 
of their opponents, but they did genuinely come to think that the state 
ought to be run on more democratic lines; we may believe Plutarch when 
he says that Cimon was ostracized both because he was philolakon and 
because he was misodemos. The word demokratia may well have been 
coined at this time, 40 and Ephialtes may have moved the axones on which 
the laws of Draco and Solon were inscribed from the Acropolis to the 
new Stoa of the Basileus in the Agora, to symbolize the transfer to the 
people of the control of the state. 41 

39 Cf. Dodds 1953 (j 27) 19-20 and i960 (j 28)= 1973 (j 29), 45-63; contra Dover 1957 (j 
30)= 1987 (a 26) 161—75), Macleod 1982 (j 74) 124—33 (* 1 98 3 (a 82) 20-9); forPodlecki 1966(3 87) 
80-100, Aeschylus approved of Ephialtes’ reform but feared further reform by Pericles. 

40 Notice Bratov uparovaa x^P in Aesch. Suppl. 604, and the name Democrates given to an 
Athenian born c. 4 70-460 (Davies 1971 (l 27) 359-60, cf. Stroud 1984(0 168)). Against the view that 
the word was not adopted until late in the fifth century, see Hansen 1986 (a 57). Earlier, demos and 
kratoshzd been combined in the Great Rhetra at Sparta (Plut. L yc. 6.2, Tyrt. fr. 4.9 West; cf. CAH 
ill 2 . 1, 740-1). 

41 According to Anaximenes (FGrH 72 F 13), Ephialtes moved the axones and the kyrbeis to the 
bouleuterion and the Agora; Poll. vm. 1 28 substitutes the prytaneion ( where these objects were certainly 
to be found later) for the bouleuterion. It has often been thought that this was merely a metaphorical 

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On his return from Messenia Cimon tried to upset the reform, but he 
was unsuccessful and was ostracized (Plut. Cim. 15.3—5, 17.3; Per. 9.5). 
The democracy had come to stay, but its enemies were not yet prepared 
to accept defeat. Ephialtes himself was murdered: the orator Antiphon 
cited this as an instance of an unsolved crime (v. Caed. Her. 68); 
Idomeneus alleged that Pericles killed him out of envy ( FGrH 338 f 8, 
ap. Plut. Per. 10.7), but Ath. Pol. says that the killer was Aristodicus of 
Tanagra (25.4); either this last was an unconfirmed rumour or it was 
known that Aristodicus was the actual killer and assumed that some 
Athenian must have instigated him. The Eumenides in 458 shows a fear of 
civil war (cf. above), and at the time of the battle of Tanagra, perhaps in 
the following year, 42 there were rumours of a pro-Spartan oligarchic plot 
(Thuc. 1.107.4, 6). Plutarch tells the story that Cimon was anxious to 
return and fight on the Athenian side at Tanagra and was forbidden to do 
so, but his friends fought and died in the battle, and afterwards he was 
recalled on the proposal of Pericles (Cim. 17.4—7; Per. 10. 1—3). We may 
accept that Cimon was not willing to do as Isagoras had done fifty years 
earlier and invoke Spartan help against his political opponents, but 
probably he was not recalled at the time of Tanagra and did not return to 
Athens until the end of his ten years of exile, though perhaps then he was 
not simply allowed to return but was positively recalled. 43 

Ath. Pol. 26.2-4 chronicles three laws of the 450s: in 457/6 (or in the 
previous year, to take effect in that year) the archonship was opened to 
the % eugitai , the third of the four property classes; in 453/2 the thirty 
travelling magistrates, dikastai kata demous (an institution of the tyranny, 
not then necessarily numbering thirty: Ath. Pol. 16.5) were revived; in 
451/0 a law of Pericles limited citizenship to men who had Athenian 
mothers as well as Athenian fathers. Another law of Pericles is men- 
tioned in 27.3-4: to rival Cimon’s generosity from his own resources 
Pericles used the resources of the state to provide payment for jurors in 
the dikasteria. These laws completed the democracy established by the 
reform of the Areopagus. The first of them marks the penultimate stage 
in the process by which the archons came to be thought of as routine 
officials, with duties which any loyal citizen could be trusted to perform: 
as for most offices, all but the members of the lowest class were now 

way of saying that Ephialtes placed the control of the state in the hands of the people (Wilamowitz 
1 893 (a 125) 1 45 n. 7). If the Stoa of the Basileus was built in the second quarter of the fifth century, 
as proposed by Thompson 1981 (1 165) 345-6, it may be that the axones of Draco and Solon were 
moved from the Acropolis to the Stoa by Ephialtes and from the Stoa to the prjtaneion on the 
publication of the new code of laws at the end of the fifth century, and that Ephialtes’ act was 
intended to have the metaphorical significance detected by Wilamowitz. 

42 But see pp. 113-15, 501, placing it in the same year. 

43 However, the story that Cimon was recalled early is found also in Theopompus, FGrH 1 1 5 f 
88; and Gomme, HCT 1 326-7 , argued strongly that in the absence of good conflicting evidence it 
should be believed. Unz 1986 (b 16) 76-82 accepts it and argues for a revised chronology. 

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eligible; for a while appointment continued to be by klerosis ek prokriton, 
but by the time of Ath. Pol. this had given way to a two-stage allotment 
(8. 1). Dikastai kata demous and payment for jurors are both responses to 
the development of the dikasteria, which Ephialtes’ reform had aided; 
judicial business formerly handled by the Areopagus was now handled 
by organs of the demos , and it will have been necessary for him to divide 
the heliaia into separate dikasteria and to standardize the new procedure 
by which one of the archons after a preliminary enquiry referred suits to a 
dikasterion, if this had not already been done. Dikastai kata demous 
probably decided minor private suits in which the sum at issue was not 
more than 10 drachmae (cf. Ath. Pol. 55.2): such suits would often be 
between near neighbours, and in this way litigation would be made 
easier and pressure on the dikasteria would be relieved. Payment for 
jurors (at first, probably 2 obols a day 44 ) enabled the poorer citizens to 
play their part in the judicial process and allowed the formation of the 
large juries, representative of the demos , which the Athenians preferred. 
If the story of a political manoeuvre against Cimon is pressed, this 
measure must be assigned to a time when he was in Athens, but more 
probably we should conclude only that the payment was introduced 
during his lifetime, and date it shortly after Ephialtes’ reform. 45 

Pericles’ citizenship law requires more discussion. The only explan- 
ation given in an ancient text is ‘because of the number of the citizens’ 
{Ath. Pol. 26. 4); 46 but that will certainly not explain the re-enactment of 
the law in 403/2, after the losses of the Peloponnesian War; and if, as 
seems likely, bastards were never legally entitled to Athenian citizen- 
ship, 47 the effect of the law will have been to limit citizens in their choice 
of wives but not to limit the number of citizen sons born to citizen 
fathers. 48 Distinguished citizens with foreign mothers had included 
Cleisthenes and Themistocles, and currently included Cimon. It has been 
suggested that the law was a party-political manoeuvre against Cimon, 
but there is no indication that the law was made retrospective, and 
almost certainly Cimon held his last Athenian command (Thuc. 1.1 12.2- 
4) after the law had been enacted. 49 Rich aristocrats were more likely than 

44 Schol. Ar. Wasps 300, cf. 88 (emended). 

45 Hignett 1952 (d 38) 342-3, contra Wade-Gery 1938 (c 104) 131-4= 1958 (a 121) 235-8. 

46 Arist. Pol. m, 1 278326—34 remarks that when democracies are short of ‘legitimate’ citizens they 
adopt generous criteria for citizenship, but as they come to have an ample supply of common people 
( ochlos ) they adopt increasingly strict criteria. 

47 Lacey 1968 (l 90) 282 n. 15; Humphreys 1974 (l 73); Rhodes 1978 (l 120); contra Harrison 
1968—71 (a 59) 1 63—5; MacDowell 1976 (l 97). 

48 Hignett 1952 (d 38) 346. 

49 Hignett op. cit. 345, contra Jacoby, FCrH nib suppl. i 477-81; for Cimon’s last command cf. 
p. 54 (Meiggs 1963 (e 5 2) 13, believing that Cimon was recalled from ostracism slightly early, placed 
his death in Cyprus before the enactment of the law; same chronology in Meiggs 1972 (e 5 3) in, 
125, 422—3, 456-7, but see Chronological Notes, pp. 501—2). 

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poor commoners to bring foreign wives back to Athens; but in the mid- 
fifth century more Athenians were going abroad than earlier, and also 
foreigners were probably coming to Athens as metics in large numbers, 
and their daughters were as accessible to the poor as to the rich. We may 
guess that mixed marriages had been accepted when they were few and 
illustrious, but were incurring disapproval as they became more fre- 
quent: Athens and her democracy were flourishing, and membership of 
the citizen body should be limited to those who were entitled to it by 
their Athenian origins. In 445 / 4 Psammetichus of Egypt sent a consign- 
ment of corn to Athens, which was distributed among the citizens; the 
gift provoked a check on the registers of citizens, and it is implausibly 
alleged that as many as 4,760 from a total of 19,000 were deleted 
(Philochorus, FGrH 328 f i 19). We need not follow Plutarch (Per. 37.4) 
in linking this check with Pericles’ law, 50 but it reflects the same attitude, 
that only those with a good claim to them should enjoy the benefits of 
Athenian citizenship: there is nothing incompatible with democracy in 
the law. 51 


The core of the Athenian state was the Athenian demos , the body of 
Athenian citizens, and under the democracy the state was run by, and for 
the benefit of, the demos. In the making of decisions all citizens were 
involved together: the one sovereign body was the ekklesia, the 
Assembly which consisted in theory of all adult male citizens. In the 
carrying-out of decisions all could not be involved together but all could 
be involved in turn: administration was based on a large number of 
boards with limited duties, and no man could hold any one civilian office 
for more than one year. Most of the more important lawsuits were 
referred to a dikasterion after preliminary enquiry by a magistrate: the 
juries in these courts were large, and as subdivisions of Solon’s heliaia 
were regarded as representative of the demos. 

It was the Assembly which enacted laws, imposed taxes and spent the 
proceeds of them, made alliances and declared peace and war. Any 
citizen present could speak in the debate, or put forward an amendment 
to a proposal already before the Assembly, or make a new proposal 

50 Hignctt loc. cit. 

51 Patterson 1981 (d 65) argues that before 45 1/0 there was no law laying down the qualification 
for registration as a citizen, which I think possible, and that many men of non-Athenian birth on 
both sides had been registered, which I doubt. Walters 1983 (l 139) argues that bastards were not 
ipso facto excluded from citizenship and that the purpose of the law was to exclude the sons of citizens 
by slave women. Humphreys 1977/8 (d 39) 99= 1983 (a 67) 24, sees the law's purpose as ‘to prevent 
families based on international dynastic marriages from using their private relationships to 
manipulate foreign policy’. See also pp. 292, 299. 

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himself. The most important restriction of the Assembly’s powers of 
decision lay in the principle of probouleusis (advance deliberation). 52 In 
Athens as in other Greek cities of varying political complexion the 
Assembly worked in conjunction with a smaller Council (the boule ) 
which gave prior consideration to its business; cities differed in the 
extent to which they allowed the Council to decide matters without 
reference to the Assembly, and in the degree of freedom which they gave 
the Assembly to debate matters which were referred to it; 53 in democratic 
Athens all major and many subsidiary decisions were taken by the 
Assembly, and the restriction of the Assembly’s freedom was minimal. 
The rule of probouleusis was formulated, ‘It is not permitted to the demos to 
decree anything which has not been given prior consideration by the 
Council and has not been put to it by the prytaneis’ ( Ath . Pol. 45 .4), and all 
that was forbidden by this was the taking of a positive decision on a 
subject not referred to the Assembly by the Council. The Council might 
make a recommendation of its own, in which case the Assembly was free 
to adopt it or amend it or reject it and adopt an alternative proposal; or it 
might decline to offer a recommendation, and simply invite the 
Assembly to debate a subject and make up its own mind, in which case 
proposals would have to be made in the Assembly; our evidence 
suggests that in the fifth and fourth centuries both bodies took their 
duties seriously. If a matter was raised in debate which the chairmen were 
not prepared to accept as covered by the Council’s probouleuma (memor- 
andum to the Assembly), the Assembly could call for a proposal to be 
presented to a subsequent meeting: in the fifth century ad hoc drafting 
committees ( syngrapheis ) were sometimes appointed to present proposals 
through the Council; such committees prepared the way for the 
oligarchies of 411 and 404, so this practice was abandoned, and in the 
fourth century the Council itself was commissioned to draw up 

Some other limitations on its power were normally accepted by the 
Assembly, but might fail to work on the occasions when they were most 
needed (the Assembly which set up the oligarchy in 41 1 began by 
suspending all the normal safeguards against hasty decision; 54 in the 
‘trial’ of the generals after Arginusae the prytaneis tried to enforce the 
normal rules of procedure, but ‘the mass shouted out that it would be a 
terrible thing if any one prevented the demos from doing what it wanted’ 
Xen. Hell. 1.7. 12 55 ). By 415 there existed the possibility of prosecuting 
the author of a decree and invalidating the decree through a graphe 
paranomon. ib On some occasions the demos voted that a question might 

52 On the working of probouleusis in Athens, see Rhodes 1972 (d 75) 52—81. 

53 Cf. below, pp. 92—3. 54 Cf. below, p. 475. 55 Cf. below, p. 493. 

56 Cf. pp. 70-2 withnn. 28, 32. 

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not be raised without a previous vote of immunity ( adeia ), so that a 
decision could not be taken at a single meeting of the Assembly, but one 
meeting would have to vote the immunity and a second to take the 
substantive decision. 57 Some important decisions, like that on Corinth 
and Corcyra in 43 3, 58 were spread over two days, so that the people 
should hear the arguments on the first day and return to vote on the 
second (Thuc. 1.44.1); but there seem to have been no precautions to 
ensure that only those who had heard the arguments took part in the 

In the fourth century there were four regular Assemblies in each of the 
ten prytanies of the year, one of the four being designated ‘principal’ 
( kyria ) (Ath. Pol. 43.4—6): probably there was a time when the kyriai 
ekklesiai were the only regular Assemblies, and we may guess that the 
others were added between Ephialtes’ reform and the end of the fifth 
century. For a tenth of the year at a time the fifty councillors of one tribe 
served as the prytaneis, the standing committee of the Council and the 
joint chairmen of the Council and Assembly; each day one of their 
number was picked by lot to serve as president. The mechanism was 
available from the time of Cleisthenes’ creation of the ten tribes, but 
before Ephialtes’ reform there is no clear evidence for these prytaneis, and 
probably the Council was not busy enough to need a standing com- 
mittee, so we should perhaps attribute the institution of the prytaneis to 
Ephialtes 59 and suppose that previously the nine archons had presided. 60 
Decisions in the Assembly were taken by a simple majority. On some 
motions, particularly some affecting a named individual, voting was by 
ballot and a quorum of 6,000 was required; 61 the latter requirement 
suggests that attendance in excess of 6,000 was possible but was not 
always achieved. 62 On other motions the Assembly voted by show of 
hands: many votes might be needed in the course of a meeting, and it is 
likely that an exact count was not attempted but if a vote did not produce 
an unchallenged majority the vote was repeated. 63 

The regular meeting-place of the Assembly was the Pnyx (south west 
of the Agora, west of the Acropolis); the earliest work there is dated to 
the end of the sixth century, and the site was remodelled at the end of the 
fifth century and again in the fourth. 64 The Council had its headquarters 
in the Agora (see below, Fig. 27): originally the excavators dated the 
council chamber ( bouleuterion ) c. 500 and the round house ( tbolos ) which 
was used by the prytaneis in the second quarter of the fifth century, 65 and 

57 E.g. M-L 58 — IG i 3 52.1 5-19. 58 Cf. below, p. 574. 

59 Rhodes 1972 (d 75) 16-19. 60 Hignett 1952 (d 58) 74, 92, 98-9, 1 50-1. 

61 Cf. law ap. Andoc. 1.87 and the rule concerning ostracism as formulated by Plut. Arist. 7.6. 

62 On the population of Athens see below, p. 85. 63 Hansen 1977 (d 31). 

64 Cf. Travlos 1971 (t 171) 466-76, where detailed discussions are cited. 

65 Travlos *971 (1 1 71) 191-5, 555-61; Thompson and Wycherley 1972 (1 166) 20, 25-46. 

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8 o 


it was possible to link the first with Cleisthenes and the second with 
Ephialtes ; 66 but the appearance of re-used material in the bouleuterion is an 
embarrassment, and may indicate that that too should be dated to the 
second quarter of the fifth century . 67 At any rate, the buildings of the 
Council and Assembly belong to the half-century from Cleisthenes to 

If the Assembly was to discharge its duty responsibly it had to be kept 
informed. Documents could not be reproduced in large numbers, as they 
are in the modern world, and an important official of the Athenian state 
(who was considered to require special skill, and was therefore 
appointed not by lot but by election) was the secretary, who read 
documents aloud at meetings of the Council and Assembly (. Ath . Pol. 
54.5, cf. Thuc. vn. 10). Before and after meetings, though documents 
could not be sent to the citizens, the citizens could go to the documents: 
more than any other Greek state, Athens took to inscribing, on stone, 
decrees of the Assembly, accounts of public expenditure and a wide 
range of official documents; publication on a large scale seems to have 
begun shortly after Ephialtes’ reform, presumably by a deliberate 
decision of the new democracy. As has been mentioned, business for the 
Assembly was prepared by the Council, and the way in which the 
Council came to act as supervisor of the state’s administration (see 
below) ensured that it was well informed on the day-to-day working of 
Athens. The Assembly was helped also by the fact that its members were 
not utter laymen: many of those who attended were holding some state 
appointment in the current year, and many more had done so in a recent 

Greek cities had no professional civil service, and in democratic 
Athens much of the city’s administration was entrusted to committees of 
citizens, usually comprising one man from each of the ten tribes. This 
may be illustrated from the organization of Athenian finance. The 
collection of a tax will have been put up for auction among rival 
syndicates of tax-farmers, and the contract for the year awarded to the 
syndicate which offered the highest yield, by the poletai (sellers) in the 
presence of the Council; the Council kept a record of the contract, with 
the amount due and the date fixed for payment; a few public slaves 
( demosioi ) were available for mechanical tasks of that kind {Ath. Pol. 
47.2—3). On the day appointed the money was paid to the apodektai 
(receivers) and the record of the contract was cancelled, again in the 
presence of the Council {Ath. Pol. 47.5—48.1); defaulters were pursued 
by the Council through another committee, the praktores (exacters) (law 
ap. Andoc. 1. Mjst. 77). In the fifth century, state revenue was paid by the 

66 Rhodes 1972 (d 75) 30-1, 1 8-19 (using this to support the attribution of pry taneis to Ephialtes). 

67 This date preferred by Thompson 1981 (i 165) 345-6. 

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apodektai into a central treasury, and all expenditure from the treasury 
had to be authorized (either as a single or as a recurrent payment) by the 
Assembly; 68 the paying officers were the kolakretai (an ancient title, 
meaning literally ‘ham-collectors’), and it has been argued that these, 
presumably because they were the most strongly tempted to embezzle- 
ment, held office not for a whole year but only for one prytany. 69 The 
work of the various committees was held together through the super- 
vision of the Council (cf. Ath. Pol. 45 .2, 47.1, 49.5): in the financial realm 
this supervision covered not only the secular officials but also the 
treasurers of Athena and other sacred treasurers (cf. Ath. Pol. 47.1), and 
the taktai (assessors: IG i 3 71 = M— L 69, 8—26) who assessed and the 
hellenotamiai (treasurers of the Greeks: IG i 3 34 = M-L 46, 16-22) who 
received and disbursed the tribute of the Delian League. The tribute was 
spent on ships for the Athenian fleet, and on payment to soldiers and 
sailors who were engaged in the League’s wars; in the 440s and 430s 
tribute which was surplus to these requirements was spent on public 
buildings in Athens and Attica; 70 and Athens’ position as capital of the 
League meant that citizens of member states had for various reasons to 
visit Athens and contribute to Athenian taxes and to the wealth of the 
Athenians. 71 

The state had a large number of officials - a passage in Ath. Pol. refers 
plausibly to 700 internal and (700, but this repetition of the number is a 
corruption) overseas officials in the fifth century (24. 3) - and in addition 
the tribes, trittyes and demes, and other organizations within the 
Athenian state, had officials of their own. Almost all of the state’s regular 
civilian appointments were made by lot, and could be held only for one 
year in a man’s life; the Council of Five Hundred was likewise appointed 
by lot; in the fourth century men were allowed to serve twice as 
councillors, and some repetition is likely to have been needed at the 
beginning of the fifth century, but this concession may not have been 
necessary in the time of Pericles. 72 For this system to work, a large 
number of men had to be able and willing to devote some of their time to 
public service: payment for jurors (cf. above, pp. 75-6) was probably the 
first instance of payment to civilians to compensate for loss of earnings 
while engaged in public business; in due course payments for the various 
officials and committees were introduced; 73 the culmination was reached 
in the 390s, with payment for attendance at the Assembly {Ath. Pol. 41.3, 
cf. Ar. Eccl. 186-8, 289-3 1 1, 392). The philosophy behind this practice 

68 In the fourth century there was a regular allocation (mcrismos) of fixed sums of money to 
separate spending authorities: Rhodes 1972 (d 75) 99-101, 1979/80 (d 78) 310-1 1. 

69 Wilhelm 1939(0 179). 70 Cf. p. 126. 71 Cf. pp. 307-12. 

72 Rhodes 1980 (a 103) 193-^. 

73 One motive for the oligarchic revolution of 4 1 1 was a desire to save money by abolishing these 
civilian stipends: see below, p. 473. 

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was that all should play their part in the running of the state: not all will 
have been good administrators, but the work was simple and the scope 
for incompetence limited, and although each year each official was new 
to his current post most will have been men who had held other posts in 
the public service in previous years. Public appointments were not, 
however, open to all adult male citizens: men under thirty were ineligible 
(cf. Ath. Pol. 63.3, on jurors), and so too were the members of the lowest 
property class, the thetes { Ath . Pol. 7.3—4). 

The Council acquired not only administrative functions but judicial 
functions to reinforce them {Ath. Pol. 45.2). In the modern world, where 
the power of the state over the individual is large, it seems important that 
the courts should be independent of the other organs of the state and so 
able to insist that even the state must abide by the laws, but in the Greek 
world the power of the state was much less; in fifth-century Athens an 
opposition between the polis and the individual citizens who comprised 
the polis would scarcely have been intelligible, and the distinction 
between the laws and what the demos currently wanted had yet to be 
drawn. The Council was involved also, after Ephialtes’ reform, in the 
trial of eisangeliai, charges of major offences against the state. Apart from 
the jurisdiction of the Council, most public lawsuits (on charges on 
which any citizen might prosecute), and private suits where the sum at 
issue was more than 10 drachmae, 74 now came after a preliminary 
enquiry by a magistrate to one of the dikasteria into which Solon’s heliaia 
was divided: juries were of some hundreds, or even thousands, and the 
total list of registered jurors ran to 6,000 (Ar. Wasps 661-2, Ath. Pol. 
24.3); men under thirty were excluded, but thetes were not. In dispensing 
justice as in administration the Athenians did not set a high value on 
expertise: litigants were expected to plead their own cases; in due course 
professional speech-writers are found, but not specialists in the law as 
such. There were no regular public prosecutors: the Council might 
uncover offences in the course of its administrative work (cf. Ant. vi. 
Chor. 49), and sometimes, as for the trial of Cimon (p. 68), prosecutors 
might be elected; but usually it was left to ‘whoever wished’ {ho 
boulomenos) to initiate a public lawsuit, and malicious prosecutors called 
sykopbantai , 75 who made a practice of prosecuting in order to obtain the 
rewards offered to those who won their cases, were a well-known evil in 
Athens (e.g. Ar. Ach. 898-928). Litigants swore to keep to the point at 
issue {Ath. Pol. 67.1), and jurors swore to make their decision on the 
point at issue (oath ap. Dem. xxiv. Tim. 151), but it is clear from 
surviving speeches that the Athenian courts did not in fact observe strict 

74 The lesser private suits were judged by the dikastai kata demotes: cf. pp. 75-6. 

75 Literally, ‘fig-exposers’: perhaps originally, as in Ar. Ach. 818—28, 904-28, denouncers of 
contraband imports. 

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standards of relevance: the courts were cross-sections of the Athenian 
demos, expressing the will of the demos with regard to the contestants 
appearing before them. 

The body which met in the Assembly, and which supplied councillors 
and other officials, and jurors, was not the whole population of Athens 
but the Athenian demos, the adult male citizens. The exclusion of children 
from political power is still accepted in our own century; the exclusion of 
women was accepted for a long time but is not today. But even if we 
include women and children, as citizens in a wider sense, citizens were a 
far lower proportion of the total population in Attica than they are in a 
modern state. The demos could and sometimes did confer citizenship on a 
foreigner, but there was no general right to acquire citizenship by place 
of birth or by migration, and Pericles’ law of 45 1/0, requiring a citizen 
mother as well as a citizen father, defined the entitlement to citizenship 
more strictly than before (see pp. 75-7). There were many non-citizens 
living in Attica, some as long-term visitors, others as permanent 
residents: they had to register as metoikoi\ they had military and fiscal 
obligations; they had no political rights, and only such rights at law as 
the citizens chose to allow them. Metics, though not citizens, were still 
free men and women; many other inhabitants were unfree. Slaves, who 
were the property of their masters, to be treated almost entirely as their 
masters wished, were present in large numbers. The Athenian citizens 
were not parasitic on their metics and slaves to the same extent as the 
Spartiate citizens were parasitic on their perioikoi and helots 76 - many 
citizens worked on their own land or in their own workshops, often with 
the help of slaves - but the large-scale participation by the citizens in the 
running of the state was possible partly because they were not the whole 
population, but there was an unleisured class of non-citizens which did 
not share in political activity. Figures are hard to come by for citizens and 
even harder for non-citizens; but at the outbreak of the Peloponnesian 
War the total population perhaps numbered about 300,000, comprising 
100,000 or more slaves, somewhat under 50,000 members of metic 
families and somewhat over 1 50,000 members of citizen families; of these 
last, 45,000, 1 5 per cent of the population, were adult male citizens, and 
1 7 ,000, under 6 per cent of the population, were citizens over thirty years 
old in the three highest property classes, eligible to hold office. 77 

Apart from its use to denote the demes, the smallest units in 
Cleisthenes’ organization, the word demos can refer either to the whole 
citizen body or to the mass of ordinary citizens as opposed to the rich and 

™ Cf. CAH iii 2 .i, 742 - 4 . 

77 These approximations are based on the estimates of Gomme 19}} (a 48), Ehrenberg 1969 (a 
55 ) but arguments for rather higher citizen numbers are advanced by Rhodes 1988 (c 84) 271- 
7, while Duncan-Joncs 1980 (a jo) has argued for considerably higher metic numbers. 

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8 4 


aristocratic: in Pericles’ funeral oration the Athenian democracy is 
described as a constitution in which all citizens have the opportunity to 
display their merits in the service of the state (Thuc. 11.37. i), while 
pseudo-Xenophon’s Athenaion Politeia represents it as rule by the lower 
classes in their own interests (1.2—9); Aristotle, trying to define democ- 
racy, began by regarding it as a constitution in which power resides not 
with one or a few but with many, but added that in fact it is the rule of the 
poor (Pol. hi, 1279322— i28oa6). In appointment to office, the Athenian 
democracy retained some bias in favour of the rich: the poorest citizens 
were officially ineligible, and despite the provision of stipends the 
poorest of those who remained will probably have found it less easy than 
the richer to entrust their private concerns to others and devote their 
time to the service of the state. The poorest citizens were not excluded 
from the Assembly, and distance was more likely than poverty to keep 
men away from its meetings (Marathon is 37 km from Athens by the 
shortest route, 42 km by the easiest): if the Assembly had divided on class 
lines the poor could regularly have outvoted the rich, but there is no 
evidence that this occurred. There is some evidence for opposition of 
rich and poor in the law courts: the stipend paid to jurors will have 
appealed to those who would otherwise have had difficulty in earning 
their living, though not to the hard-working; if the state was short of 
money the stipends could not be paid and the courts would not sit; 78 and 
when a rich man was on trial the argument might be used that continuing 
payment of the stipends depended on a vote of condemnation. 79 

We do not know when the property tax called eisphora , first mentioned 
in 434/3 ( IG I 3 5 2 = M— L 5 8 bi 5— 19), was introduced or first collected; 
most other taxes were indirect taxes, so that the amount which a man 
paid depended on his consumption rather than his wealth. The rich were 
called on to make further contributions to the state through the system 
of liturgies, acting as choregoi to train and finance a chorus in a festival or 
as trierarchs to command and finance a trireme in the navy. This system 
involved the payer in the life of the community, as the collection and 
expenditure of taxes by government agents does not; it also provided the 
rich payers with opportunities for competition and display, and we see 
from law-court speeches that men took pride in performing more 
liturgies, more expensively, than was actually required of them, and 
expected these services to be remembered to their credit when they were 
under attack. 80 

Any community needs leaders, though in Athens, where the compo- 

78 Dem. xxxix. 17, cf. xxiv.99, XLV.4. 

79 Ar. Knigbts 1557-61, cf. Wasps 500-6, Lys. xix.n, xxvii.i, xxx.22, Hyp. iv.52— 7. 

80 E.g. Lys. xix. 29, 42—5, xxi. 1-5, 1 1— 12, xxv.12— 15; Dem. xix.282. Aristotle, Pol. v, 1509317- 
20, vi, 1 5 20b 5— 4, expresses disapproval of ostentatious but useless liturgies. 

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sition of the Assembly changed from meeting to meeting and that of the 
Council changed from year to year, it was harder for even the most 
popular leader to pursue a coherent policy than in a modern parliamen- 
tary system. Thucydides writes that Periclean Athens was ‘in name 
democracy but in fact rule by the first man’ (11.65.9); Plutarch, over- 
simplifying, writes that ‘for forty years Pericles was a leader together 
with men like Ephialtes, Leocrates, Myronides, Cimon, Tolmides and 
Thucydides, but after the defeat and ostracism of Thucydides [r. 443]®’ 
he acquired for not less than fifteen years a continuous and single rule 
and predominance in his yearly generalships’ (Per. 16.3). By the middle 
of the fifth century the decline of the archonships to routine offices, 
concerned largely with festivals and the machinery of justice, was 
complete; owing partly, no doubt, to the achievements of Cimon as 
general in command of the forces of Athens and the Delian League, the 
generals had become not only the commanders of the army and navy but 
also the political leaders of Athens. Whereas nearly all civilian officials 
were appointed by lot, and could not be reappointed, to posts which 
were thought to require loyalty rather than ability, it was recognized that 
generals and other military officials did require ability, and so these were 
appointed by election and could be reappointed as often as the demos 
chose to re-elect them (cf. Ath. Pol. 43.1, 61.1). Thus in the Periclean 
period the people elected their leaders: appointment as general was at the 
same time an acknowledgement of a man’s predominance and a means of 
exercising and maintaining that predominance. 

Constitutionally the generals were executive officers, given particular 
tasks by the people, inevitably allowed some discretion in the field but 
ultimately answerable to the people for the performance of those tasks. 
When they combined with the Council and other officials to swear to a 
treaty or to protect an honorand, this was a recognition of their 
importance in the state. Evidence that they had a privileged consti- 
tutional position and could require an Assembly to be called or not is 
limited to the period of the Peloponnesian War, but the Assembly would 
inevitably pay more attention to a proposal from a general or from the 
board of generals than to one from a private citizen or a group of private 
citizens: 82 the age of the politician as rhetor (speaker), a man who 
regularly spoke in the Assembly but did not regularly hold office, was 
still in the future. 83 

Like most Athenian boards, the generals were ten in number. 
Originally they had been elected, by the Assembly, one from each tribe 
(Ath. Pol. 22.2), and if Plutarch may be trusted that was still true of the 
generals of 469/8 (Cim. 8.8); by the time of Ath. Pol. they were elected 
irrespective of tribe (6 1 . 1), and our incomplete knowledge of the fourth- 

81 Cf. p. 141. 82 Rhodes 1972 (d 75) 43-6. 83 Cf. pp. 404-5, 417. 

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century generals suggests that this was not yet true of the generals of 
3 5 7/6. 84 A fragment of Androtion ( FGrH 324 f 38), purporting to list 
the ten generals of 44 1 jo, seems to list eleven and certainly includes both 
Pericles and one other member of his tribe, and in some later years 
Pericles again had a colleague in his own tribe. Two of the generals of 
3 5 7/6 were from the same tribe: almost all scholars have been convinced 
that in the second half of the fifth century and the first half of the fourth 
there was a method of appointment intermediate between the two 
mentioned by Ath. Pol., retaining the basic principle of one general from 
each tribe but allowing at any rate one exception and possibly more than 
one. 85 How and why these exceptions were provided for has been 
endlessly discussed; the most helpful approach is one which starts by 
asking how elections in the Assembly are likely to have been con- 
ducted. 86 The Assembly voted in elections as in most other matters by 
show of hands, and probably a precise count of votes was not made 
(p. 79): if there were several candidates for the first tribe’s generalship, 
the presiding officers (probably) would not count the votes in favour of 
each but would take each candidate in turn and invite votes for and votes 
against him; the first candidate who had a majority of votes in his favour 
would be declared elected. If the voters knew before they started voting 
who all the candidates in the tribe were, and understood that it would 
prejudice the chances of the candidate whom they preferred to give a 
favourable vote to any other candidate, it ought never to have been the 
case that, for instance, the second candidate was elected by a small 
majority but continuing the voting would have yielded a larger majority 
for the third. On the other hand, it might well happen that in one tribe 
none of the candidates secured a favourable majority: in that case, before 
the modification was introduced, a second vote would have been taken 
on the candidates in that tribe; afterwards, when the first vote had been 
completed, places left unfilled would be offered in the second vote to all 
surviving candidates irrespective of tribe. The appearance of two 
generals from one tribe will thus be a sign that in the first vote none of the 
candidates in one other tribe secured a majority. Certainly the ten 

84 In 3 5 7/6 eight of the generals were from seven different tribes ( 1G it 2 124 = Tod, GHI 153.20- 
4): it is possible that Chares should not be restored as the second name (Chabrias may have been 
accidentally inscribed twice and therefore deleted once), but Chares was a general in 357/6 even if he 
was not included in that list; see Develin 1989(0 20) 275-6; it used to be held that in 323/2 four of the 
six generals whom we know were from the same tribe (Sundwall 1906 (l i 30) 23-4), and if that were 
true it would support Atb. Pol. 6 1.1, but later prosopographical work has reduced them to two 
(Develin 1989 (o 20) 408; I count his ‘nauarchos’ as a general). 

85 Contra Fornara 1971 (d 29), especially 19-27, arguing that the tribal basis of appointments was 
wholly abandoned in the late 460s; but if that were so we should expect to find more exceptions than 
are reliably attested, and Hansen 1988 (d 35) points out that a (modified) tribal basis for 360 is 
confirmed by P. Oxj. 1804, fr. iv. 4-6. 

86 Pierart 1974 (d 67), cf. Rhodes 1981 (C83) 129-32, Hansen 1983 (d 34) 119-21. References to 
other discussions may be found in Fornara 1971 (d 29). 

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generals remained constitutionally equal, and it is wrong to suppose that 
one of the ten was elected in a special way to a position of special 
authority. 87 

Pericles, though a leader of the democrats, was both rich and 
aristocratic. It was easier for the rich than for the poor to devote their 
time to political activity, and nearly all politicians were rich men. Of 
those mentioned with Pericles in Plut. Per. 16.3 (p. 85), Cimon and his 
relative Thucydides were aristocratic; we do not know the families of the 
others. Our sources suggest that Cleon, in the generation after Pericles, 
was the first of a new kind of politician, vulgar both in origin and in 
manner (e.g. Ath. Pol. 28.1—3), while after Pericles’ death few men from 
the old aristocracy were active in politics. 88 It should not surprise us that 
the first leaders of the democracy were from families with a long 
tradition of political activity, but the democracy encouraged men from 
other families to try to rise to prominence, and as they succeeded the 
democracy in these new hands came to have less attraction for the 


Athens, as we have seen, was the paradigm of a democratic state; Pericles 
is represented as saying in his funeral oration, ‘We ourselves are an 
example, rather than imitators of others’ (Thuc. 11.37.1). All adult males 
of Athenian descent were citizens, entitled to attend, speak and vote at 
the Assembly, which was the sovereign decision-making body. All 
citizens over thirty were entitled to sit on the juries, which expressed the 
will of the people in the more important lawsuits. All citizens over thirty 
except those in the lowest of the four property classes were entitled to sit 
in the Council and to hold most of the offices of state, and the offices were 
so numerous that unless most of these citizens had been willing to 
exercise their rights the mechanism of government would have ground 
to a halt. Payment for the performance of a citizen’s civilian duties, to 
some extent made possible by the revenue which Athens derived directly 
from her empire, and by the prosperity which she enjoyed as head of that 
empire, enabled even the poorer citizens to devote time to public affairs. 

The final achievement of this democracy was the deliberate work of 
Ephialtes and his associates. Only 160 years before Ephialtes’ reform, 
Athens was still without written laws; the basileus was no longer a king 
but one of a college of nine annual archons; a single state had come to 
control the whole of Attica; but in other respects there had been little 
development from the primitive Athens of the dark age. The state was 

87 This was demonstrated by Dover i960 (d 21) { contra Beloch 1884 (d 5) 274-88). 

88 Cf. pp. 404-5- 

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governed by the Eupatrid aristocracy, whose members provided the 
archons and other officials, whose memories preserved the laws and 
traditions of Athens; probably all native Athenian adult males were 
citizens, and could attend the Assembly, but the Assembly met rarely and 
transacted little business, and without the courage of a Thersites (Horn. 
II. ii. 2 1 1— 77) the ordinary citizen would not venture to speak. Many of 
the citizens, indeed, were less than free men: as hektemoroi they had to 
surrender to an overlord one-sixth of the produce of their land, and they 
were no doubt expected to be subservient to him in other ways too. In 
other cities, farther south, there had recently been revolutions in which 
aristocracies had been overthrown and tyrannies had been established; 
but when Cylon had tried to make himself tyrant in Athens the attempt 
had failed. 89 

Draco’s production of a written code of laws, in 621/0, marked the 
first step from the primitive aristocracy towards the classical democracy: 
knowledge of the laws no longer depended on the memory of the ruling 
families but was accessible to all; procedures for remedying wrongs were 
publicly defined. 90 Several further steps were taken by Solon, in 594/3: 
his three most democratic measures, according to Ath. Pol. 9. 1 , were (the 
liberation of the hektemoroi and) the ban on enslavement for debt, 
abolishing the distinction within the citizen body between overlords and 
underlings; the provision for whoever wished {ho boulomertos) to prose- 
cute in ‘public’ lawsuits, offering a chance of justice to those who were 
unable or afraid to prosecute on their own account; and the institution of 
the heliaia, the judicial session of the Assembly to which litigants might 
appeal if they were dissatisfied with a magistrate’s verdict. Other 
measures deserve emphasis also: the use of wealth as the sole qualifica- 
tion for office, so that the old, closed aristocracy would in time be 
replaced by a new, open class of office-holders; the institution of a new 
Council, immediately independent of the old aristocracy, to prepare 
business for the Assembly, and (we may guess) coupled with this a 
guarantee of regular meetings for the Assembly. This was not yet 
democracy, and it was not intended to be democracy — ‘I gave the demos 
as much honour as is fitting for it’; ‘In this way will the demos best follow 
its leaders, if it is neither unleashed too far nor constrained’ (Solon, frs. 
5—6 West ap. Ath. Pol. 12. 1—2) — but Solon did attack some of the 
inequalities of the primitive state, and try to establish a regime in which 
each Athenian had his proper part to play. 91 

Nevertheless, stasis persisted; Pisistratus tried to make himself tyrant, 
and on the third occasion, in 546, he was successful. Solon’s institutions 
were retained, but the tyranny had a levelling effect, since rich aristocrats 
and poor commoners Were alike subject to the rulers of the state, and a 
89 Cf. CAH hi 2 . 3, 568-9. 90 CAH hi 2 . 5, 570-1. 91 CAM in 2 . 5, 375—91. 

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centralizing effect, increasing the importance of Athens, where the rulers 
lived, at the expense of the townships of Attica. As in other cities, in due 
course the citizens became more conscious of their present subjection 
than of the old grievances which had enabled the first tyrant to seize 
power, and in 5 1 1/10 the Pisistratids were driven out. 92 At first the old 
aristocratic rivalry was renewed, but Cleisthenes, ‘having previously 
spurned the demos, then attached it entirely to his own side’ (Hdt. v.69.2), 
and by so doing he not only got the better of Isagoras but obtained 
enough support to defeat the Spartans when they invaded on Isagoras’ 
behalf. The essence of his reform was a reorganization of the citizen body 
in ten new tribes, thirty trittyes and 1 39 demes; on this new structure the 
whole mechanism of the classical democracy was to be built, and the 
effect of the reform was to lessen the importance of the old organizations 
through which the aristocrats had remained influential, and to provide 
an apparatus for constitutional government at local level as well as at 
polis level. ‘When this was done, the politeia became far more democratic 
than that of Solon’ (. Ath . Pol. 22.1); whether that was Cleisthenes’ 
intention is another question, which need not be argued again here. 93 

Among other things based on the ten new tribes was the organization 
of the army; from 501/0 Athens had ten generals, appointed annually by 
election and capable of being re-elected. The nine archons were at that 
time elected (but perhaps given their particular posts within the college 
by lot), but in 487/6 Solon’s method of sortition from an elected short list 
was revived; the elected offices based on the new organization came to be 
more important than the old offices appointed by lot. 94 Cleisthenes’ 
apparatus of government required a considerable amount of participa- 
tion by the citizens, and as they worked the machinery the demos ‘grew in 
confidence’ {Ath. Pol. 22.3, cf. 24.1). After the Persian Wars the forward- 
looking Themistocles was worsted by Cimon, who built up Athens’ 
power in the Aegean but whose attitudes and style in domestic politics 
were those of a conservative aristocrat; the Areopagus, thanks to the 
decline of the archonship no longer a council of the most important men 
in Athens, gave verdicts in Cimon’s favour; and so Ephialtes was 
prompted to challenge the prominence of the Areopagus in the state, and 
to usher in the classical democracy. For the author of the Athenaion 
Politeia the development was still far from complete: further moves are 
attributed to Pericles (26—7 ); 95 things became much worse with the rise 
of more vulgar leaders after Pericles’ death (28); 96 at the end of the fifth 
century there were two oligarchic interruptions but the democracy was 
restored (29-40), 97 ‘since when it has continued to the present day, 

92 Cf. CAH IV 2 501-2. 53 Cf. CAH IV 2 321-4. 94 Cf. CAH iv 2 353. 

95 But on the alleged reform of the Areopagus by Pericles see above, p. 70. 

96 Cf. below, p. 404. 97 Cf. below, p. 484, and CAH vi 2 ch. 2. 

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always adding to the power of the masses’ (41.2). There were changes 
during the century after Pericles’ death, some of them affecting the 
character of the democracy, 98 but in comparison with the earlier 
constitutional changes they were minor adjustments, and we may regard 
the politeia of the Periclean period as the classical form of the Athenian 
democracy. Both in Aristotle’s Politics (11, 1 273133 5 — 1274321) and in Ath. 
Pol. (9.2) it is insisted that Solon should not be supposed to have 
intended all that was later built on his foundations; but nevertheless we 
can see how the various changes briefly chronicled above contributed to 
the finished product. 

Why should it have been in Athens that this democracy made its 
appearance? Thanks to the early synoecism of Attica, Athens was much 
larger than most Greek poleis, but it was not in other respects atypical. 
Though it had taken the lead at the end of the dark age, it was overtaken 
during the Archaic period by the cities of the Isthmus and the 
Peloponnese. The political changes which we have noticed in Athens are 
paralleled in other cities. Written texts of laws were published elsewhere 
(the oldest surviving law, from Dreros, in Crete, is of the second half of 
the seventh century: M— L 2). Other cities experienced a transition from 
aristocracy through tyranny to a more broadly based constitution 
(notably Corinth, where, as in Athens, there was a reorganization of the 
citizen body after the fall of the tyranny: Nic. Dam., FGrPI 90 f 60.2; 
Phot., Suda, 7 ravTa oktw). Other cities had guaranteed meetings for the 
citizen Assembly (e.g. Sparta, in the Great Rhetra). At the end of the 
sixth century Athens was not strikingly different from other cities, but in 
the first half of the fifth she developed as the others apparently did not. 

The beginnings of the difference are to be sought in Cleisthenes’ 
organization and its consequences. Perhaps because of the sheer size of 
the Athenian state, much greater than would have been approved by 
fourth-century philosophers, 99 Cleisthenes’ new tribes and demes, if not 
his trittyes, came to be accepted as authentic political units to an extent 
which no one could have predicted; involvement in political activity at 
the local level, which required comparatively little courage and effort, 
gave the citizens the taste for political activity on a higher level. 100 
Further contributions were made by the Persian Wars. Atb. Pol. (22.3) 
links the first use of ostracism with the confidence of the demos after 
Marathon, and their achievement in repelling a Persian invasion almost 

98 On the democracy of the fourth century, which did not in fact grow ever more extreme, see 
Rhodes 1979/80 (d 78). Koerner 1974 (d 42) stresses even more than I would Athens’ departures 
from ‘democracy’ in the fourth century. 

99 E.g. PI. Rep. iv, 422e~42jc, Leg. v, -j)ic-e, Arist. Eih. Nic. ix, ii7ob3o-2, Pol. vii, 132635- 

b25. 100 Cf. above, p. 73. 

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unaided must have considerably enhanced the confidence of the Athe- 
nian hoplites. 101 When Xerxes passed through Thermopylae the Athe- 
nians evacuated Attica, an experience which will have added to their 
solidarity if not to their confidence. By the time of Xerxes’ invasion 
Athens had a fleet of two hundred triremes, requiring a total crew of 
about 40,000 (Chalcis, with its Athenian cleruchs, manned twenty, and 
the Plataeans supplied some men for the fleet at Artemisium but not at 
Salamis, but most of the sailors must have been Athenian citizens). 
Athens’ contribution amounted to more than half of the whole Greek 
fleet; the next largest was the Corinthian contingent of forty ships; the 
Aeginetans contributed thirty ships from a fleet which, if we emend 46. 1 
to save Herodotus’ arithmetic, comprised forty-two in all (Hdt. viii. 1—2, 
14. 1, 43— 8). 102 Salamis was as great an achievement for the Athenian 
thetes as Marathon had been for the hoplites; and after the invaders had 
been defeated the Athenians won further successes in the campaigns of 
the Delian League. If earlier in various cities there had been a ‘hoplite 
revolution’, Athens was now ripe for a ‘ thetes ’ revolution’, and the 
importance of the nautikos ochlos (mass of sailors) was used to explain the 
Athenian democracy by pseudo-Xenophon ( Atb . Pol. 1.2) and others 
(e.g. [Arist.] Ath. Pol. 27.1). 

Ephialtes’ reform was not in fact a ‘ thetes ’ revolution’ (see p. 69): 
probably there was no conscious opposition between hoplites and thetes 
on this issue, but ordinary Athenians of both classes could respond to 
proposals that the government of the state should be placed effectively in 
the hands of the demos. The proposals came from above: Athens before 
the reform had as broadly based a government as any other Greek city, 
and we may doubt whether there was a spontaneous demand for more 
power from the ordinary citizens; the democratic leaders of the first 
generation were aristocrats, and it was only in the following generation 
that new men rose to political prominence (cf. p. 87). The opponents of 
Cimon may have been provoked by verdicts of the Areopagus in his 
favour, but the Supplices of Aeschylus shows that the constitutional 
principle of the power due to the demos had begun to be discussed. When 
invited to take control of its own affairs, the demos accepted the 

Hitherto, the basic distinction in Greece had been between consti- 
tutional governments and tyrannies; when Herodotus writes (vi.43.3) 
that in 492 Mardonius deposed all the tyrants in Ionia and established 
‘democracies’ in the cities, he probably does not mean that the new 
constitutions were of a kind which would have been considered 

101 Cf. Hdt. v.78 on the moral effect of the isegoria (freedom of speech) which followed the ending 
of the tyranny. . 102 See Burn 1962 (a i i) 441-2. 

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democratic in the second half of the fifth century. The earliest sign of a 
different analysis is in Pindar, Pyth. n.86-8 (written perhaps in 468' 03 ), 
which distinguishes the rule of a tyrant, of ‘the turbulent army’ and of 
the wise (plural). In the debate which Herodotus (111.80-4) insistently 
but implausibly sets in sixth-century Persia, the rival claims of democ- 
racy (the word demokratia 'vs, not used here, but the cognate verb is used in 
vi. 43. 3 with reference to the debate), oligarchy and monarchy are 
advanced; and from the second half of the fifth century onwards the 
merits of government by the many, by the few and by a single ruler were 
endlessly discussed. Although the threefold division became a standard 
part of the Greek conceptual framework, there was of course a 
continuous progression from the absolute rule of a small clique to a 
comparatively egalitarian democracy, and not all Greeks would draw the 
line between oligarchy and democracy in the same place. Pericles in his 
praise of democracy in the funeral oration credits Athens with more 
complete equality (of opportunity, not of achievement) than she in fact 
possessed (Thuc. 11.37.1); Athenagoras championing democracy in 
Syracuse speaks of a regime more like that envisaged by Solon, in which 
it is the function of the wise to give counsel and of the many to listen and 
judge (Thuc. vi.39), whereas Socrates claims that in Athens, on political 
as opposed to technical matters, any citizen is considered equally capable 
of giving good advice (PI. Prt. 319b— d). When Aristotle attempts to list 
kinds of oligarchy and democracy there is no perceptible difference 
between his most moderate oligarchy and his most moderate democracy, 
and he adds that an oligarchic constitution can be administered in a 
democratic spirit and a democratic in an oligarchic spirit {Pol. iv, 
1292339—1 293334); his most extreme democracy is the kind in which the 
state’s revenues allow it to make payments for public service and the 
poor are enabled to exercise the rights which the constitution gives them 
(1 292^4 1— 1 29331 o). 

By this criterion of Aristotle the democracy of Periclean Athens, 
although it retained a property qualification for office, was an extreme 
democracy. We are rarely able to give a detailed account of the 
government of other cities, whether they styled themselves democratic 
or oligarchic, but the following may be identified as matters in which an 
oligarchic state might differ from democratic Athens. All native Athe- 
nian free adult males had a minimum of political rights, as members of 
the Assembly and potential members of juries — whereas in the 
oligarchies of 41 1— 410 and 404—403 the poorest citizens had no rights; in 
federal Boeotia and in the separate cities of Boeotia there was a property 
qualification for membership of the ‘four councils’ which wielded the 

103 E.g. Bowra 1964 (j 9) 410. Others have argued for a date in the 470s; see especially von der 
Miihll 1958 (j 79) (setting out the problems and arguing for 475), Lloyd-Jones 1973 (j 71) 117-27 
(tentatively accepting Bowra’s date). 

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sovereign power {Hell. Oxj. 16.2); in Sparta only the bomoioi (‘equals’) 
were members of the Assembly. 104 Though the Council and the 
magistracies were not open to all members of the Assembly, it was the 
Assembly which exercised the sovereign power in democratic Athens, 
and all members could take an active part in its proceedings — while the 
extreme oligarchy of summer 4 1 1 was based theoretically on a Council of 
four hundred and a hoplite Assembly, but under this regime the 
Assembly never met; in Sparta the most important issues, at any rate in 
foreign policy, were referred to the Assembly, but the members’ 
freedom of debate was limited, and much of the government of the state 
proceeded without reference to the Assembly. In Athens the large 
number of offices, appointment to civilian offices by lot and the ban on 
reappointment, and the provision of stipends for office-holders, ensured 
that the constitution was ‘administered in a democratic spirit’, that 
offices were not only theoretically open to but were actually held by a 
high proportion of the members of the Assembly - whereas in Sparta 
ephors were elected for one year from the whole Assembly and could not 
be re-elected, but members of the gerousia (council of elders) were 
appointed for life from a privileged group of families. 105 In the larger and 
more complex states of the modern world the use of representative 
institutions and of permanent civil servants means that a far lower 
proportion of the citizen body is directly involved in government than in 
Periclean Athens; but in modern forms of democracy a far higher 
proportion of the total population comprises enfranchised citizens, 
entitled to participate both as voters and as candidates in the election of 
representatives, as well as to seek employment as civil servants. 

Athens and Sparta came to be regarded as the leading exponents of 
democracy and oligarchy respectively. When she had the opportunity to 
interfere, Athens imposed democratic constitutions on member states of 
the Delian League, while Sparta encouraged oligarchies in the Pelopon- 
nesian League (see p. 74); this polarization was fostered by the clash 
between Sparta and Athens in the Peloponnesian War (Thuc. 111.82. 1). 
How closely other Greek democracies imitated the Athenian model it is 
hard to say. 106 Probably in most states which regarded themselves as 

104 On the kind of sub-citizen status which included no political rights, see Mosse 1979 (a 92), 
Lotze 1981 (l 96) 177—8. 105 On the government of Sparta see CAM iii 2 .i, 740-4. 

106 For Cleisthenic tribes and Athenian-style preambles to decrees in fifth-century Miletus see 
SGDI 5496 = Sokolowski LSAM 45, Herrmann 1970 (e 34) (publishing another inscription), 
Gehrke i 98 o(e 31). Fora year divided into prytaniesand Athenian-style preambles in fifth-century 
Lindos see SIC 1 10 n. 4 = DGE 78 = Blinkenberg 1941 (c 1 17) 212—14 (appendix to no. 16), SEG 
iv. 171, Accame 1938 (c 1 12). See in general Lewis 1984 (a 77) 56-8. Ostracism, instituted in Athens 
by Cleisthenes (CAM iv 2 334—8), is found also in Argos, Megara and Miletus (Arist. Pol. v, 
1 302b 1 8— 19, Schol. Ar. Knights 85 5: no date), and in Syracuse (Diod. xi.86.5— 87: petalismosuscd fora 
short time in the 450s, in imitation of Athens). Recently one ostracon which may have been used in an 
ostracism has been found in Argos (BCM 1 10 (1986) 764—5 no. 3) and one in Megara (HOPOL 5 
( 1 9 8 7) 59-73). That there was ostracism in Ephesus, alleged in many works of reference, depends on 
an unwarranted inference from Heraclitus 22 b 121 D-K, by Guhl 1843 ( F *8) 71 with n. 2. 

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democratic the Assembly was open to all citizens, without a property 
qualification, and was the effective sovereign body. 107 How far these 
constitutions were ‘administered in a democratic spirit’ is more doubt- 
ful. Appointment by lot, and restrictions or a total ban on reappoint- 
ment, were appropriate for maintaining equality not only within a citizen 
body but also within a ruling class; but no doubt they were widely used 
in democratic states. The claim has been made, and rebutted, that ‘Pay 
for public office is not attested for any Greek (or Roman) city other than 
Athens . . . Lacking imperial resources, no other city imitated the 
Athenian pattern. ’ 108 Certainly pay for office was introduced in Athens in 
the time of the Delian League, and the connexion between the League 
and Athens’ ability to provide pay was seen by ancient writers (e.g. Ath. 
Pol. 24); but Athens continued these payments in the fourth century, 
though the League was no more and in the first half of the century she 
was far from affluent; 109 Aristotle in Politics does not write as if pay was 
peculiar to Athens, there is evidence for pay in the Boeotian federation 
and Rhodes, and, given the concentration of our literary evidence on 
Athens, the absence of specific evidence for pay in other democracies 
may not be significant. Other cities were much smaller than Athens: they 
will not have had the large number of potential office-holders which 
Athens had (in fifth-century Erythrae men were allowed to serve in the 
Council of a hundred and twenty one year in four: M— L 40 = IG i 3 14, 
12), and could not have afforded the large number of stipends which 
Athens paid; but no doubt they made do with fewer offices, and with 
single officials or smaller boards where Athens used boards of ten, and it 
is not incredible that some of the other democracies should have 
provided appropriately modest schemes of pay for office and so should 
have involved some of the less wealthy citizens in the running of the 

Even so, the provision of pay may well have been more of a strain for 
some of the other states that attempted it than it was for Athens. In 
Athens the rich were expected to make substantial contributions to the 
expenses of the state, through the payment of taxes and the performance 
of liturgies, and j urors were sometimes told that if their stipend was to be 
paid they must condemn a rich man accused before them (see p. 84), but 
after the sixth century we hear no more of demands for the cancellation 
of debts and the redistribution of property. In many other places, life was 

107 But if DGE 701 = Hill Sources 2 b r 16 = I EK i belongs to the democracy imposed on Erythrae 
by Athens (cf. below), it is striking that a property qualification was fixed for jury service (see p. 5 7 n. 

108 Finley 1973 (l 39) 173, cf. Finley i960 (a 38) 48; contra de Stc Croix 1975 (a 108). 

109 Assembly pay was added in or after 403 (Ath. Pol. 41.3). Hansen 1979 (d 32) argues that fewer 
offices were salaried in the fourth century than in the fifth. The argument depends largely on silence, 
and 1 am doubtful, but see Lewis 1982 (d 53). 

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less stable. All too often, the establishment of a democratic regime was 
accompanied by the exile of the rich oligarchs and the confiscation of 
their property, and from the middle of the fourth century demands for 
social revolution became increasingly frequent. 110 Part of the reason for 
Athens’ freedom from such troubles may be that, even in the fourth 
century, she was able to make the payments which the demos wanted 
without having to confiscate the property of the rich. 

Constitutional government was an achievement of which the Greeks 
were justly proud. Herodotus (vn. 104.4) represents the exiled king 
Demaratus as saying to Xerxes that the Spartans ‘are free men, but not 
utterly free: for they have the law as a master, and they fear that much 
more than your subjects fear you’. If barbarians submitted to autocratic 
monarchies which the Greeks would not have tolerated, that showed 
that they were inferior creatures. 111 The Athenians, like other Greeks, 
denied both personal and political freedom to slaves, and denied political 
freedom to immigrants, as men who lived within their state but did not 
belong to it, and to women; but subject to these limitations they did 
come to see political freedom as the right of all, not only of the rich or 
well born. The influence of that discovery has not been limited to 
Classical Greece. 

1.0 See Asheri 1966 (l 2) 60-119; F°ks 1966 (l 49); Harding 1974 (c 43) 285-6. Aristotle, Pol. v, 
130533-7 mentions the imposition of burdensome liturgies as a practice which might provoke the 
rich to combine against a democracy. 

1.1 Cf. Hippoc. Air. 16, Arist. Pol. in, 1 285316-19, vn, 13 27b! 8-23. 

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MAINLAND GREECE, 479-451 b.c. 


I. FROM 479 TO 461 

There is no reason to doubt that the Hellenic alliance had taken some 
form of oath to punish medizing states, though the versions least 
affected by later propaganda contain an escape clause which would allow 
interpretation (Hdt. vn.132 ‘those who had not been forced’, para- 
phrased as ‘voluntarily’ by Diod. xi.3.3). But while Leotychidas and the 
Peloponnesians on the other side of the Aegean were still contemplating 
a wholesale expulsion of the medizers of northern Greece (Hdt. 
ix. 106.3 1 ), Pausanias, in the aftermath of Plataea, was already faced with 
interpreting the programme in the light of realism and military necessity. 
A few miles from the battlefield, Thebes still held out. After ten days he 
turned his force on the city, but its walls provided a substantial obstacle 
and he may not have wished to proceed by a prolonged siege (it will have 
been at least well into September). The medizing party is said to have lost 
300 men of its ‘first and best’ in the battle, a substantial number for a 
narrow oligarchy. A settlement was reached by which the city, no doubt 
already throwing the blame on a small group (Thuc. 111.62.3—4; contrast 
Hdt. ix. 87. 2), and with earlier services to the Greek cause to claim (Hdt. 
vii. 202, 222; Plut. De mal. Hdt. 864—7), simply handed over the principal 
medizers, who were later executed (Hdt. ix.86-8). It seems likely that it 
was at this point that Thebes and other Boeotian cities became or 
reverted to being the hoplite democracies which seem to have been the 
norm later in the century. 2 Very little else can be asserted about Boeotia 
in the next twenty years. The numismatic evidence may suggest that 
Thebes lost her superiority and that Tanagra may from time to time have 
tried to claim some form of ascendancy. 3 Of the two Boeotian states with 
an unblemished record, Plataea, still an Athenian ally, acquired a 
recognized position as a shrine of Greek freedom, but we hear little 
about Thespiae, except that she seems to have tried to expand her 

1 emporia is puzzling here; perhaps it was thought that the Ionians would be happier in coastal 

cities. 2 See p. 133. 

3 Kraay 1976 (c 190) no; Fowler 1957 (c 184). 


Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 

from 479 TO 46 1 97 

population (Hdt. vm.75 .1); links with Athens are also possible here (cf. 
p. 1 16 n. 74). 

The advantages of a city wall will thus have been well in mind when, in 
the autumn, friction first appeared among the victors. Athens had had 
some kind of wall-circuit at least since the first half of the sixth century, 4 
although it had played no visible part in strategic thinking up till now; 
Mardonius had removed virtually all there was on his final withdrawal 
(Hdt. ix. 1 3.2; Thuc. 1.89.3). Its rebuilding and improvement was thus an 
urgent matter for a state which was henceforth likely to use much of its 
military manpower by sea, and Themistocles’ view that it should be put 
in hand immediately was supported even by Aristides, so far more 
associated with hoplites than with the fleet. The operation, however, 
prompted disquiet among those of Sparta’s allies who could already see 
that the rise of the Athenian fleet had changed the balance of power in 
Greece; only the Aeginetans are named as raising objections (Plut. Them. 
19.2), but the Corinthians may have felt the same (cf. Thuc. 1.69.1). 
Sparta was persuaded to press Athens to stop building her walls, on the 
excuse that it might create a base for a future Persian invasion, but, by 
means which rapidly passed into legend (Thuc. 1.89-93, with a host of 
later variations), Athens carried her point and built the walls. On this, as 
on so much about the rise of Athenian power in the fifth century, 
opinions differed as to how hostile Sparta had been to Athenian moves. 
We may suspect that there were differences of opinion in Sparta as well. 

Spartans had commanded at the two great victories of 479, Plataea and 
Mycale. These victories pointed forward to the two main directions in 
which they could be followed up, the punishment of the medizers of 
northern Greece and the liberation of the eastern Greeks. The com- 
manders now changed roles. Pausanias, who had already discovered that 
the punishment of medizers was not straightforward, was given the fleet 
in 478, and his later actions prove that he himself saw his and Sparta’s 
future field of action beyond the Aegean; his activities in 478 are 
discussed elsewhere (p. 35). Leotychidas, whom we have already seen 
associated with projects for northern Greece, moved to the mainland. 

The logical date for his Thessalian expedition is 478, and this gets 
some slight confirmation from a dubious story that Themistocles 
proposed to burn the Greek fleet while it was wintering at Pagasae after 
the retreat of Xerxes (Plut. Them. 20.1—2), but reasons have been found 
to suspect that the sequence of events does not end until 476, and another 
school of thought defers it to 469.5 Herodotus’ account (vi.72) is that 
Leotychidas could have subdued the whole of Thessaly, but was bribed 
to desist. After he was discovered in the act with a sleeve full of silver, he 
was brought before a Spartan court, his house was demolished (cf. Thuc. 

4 Vanderpool 1974 (1 172). 5 See Chronological Notes, p. 499. 

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 

9 8 

5 • MAINLAND GREECE, 479-451 B. C. 

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Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 

FROM 479 TO 461 


v. 63. 2-4), and he died in exile in Tegea. Pausanias (111.7.9), t ^ e second 
century a.d., says he won several battles and that the bribery was by the 
Aleuadae of Larissa, already known to us as the principal medizers; 
Plutarch ( De mat. Hdt. 859c) names two tyrants actually deposed by 
Leotychidas, Aristomedes and, probably, Agelaos. 6 Neither name is 
known for this period; it has been guessed that Aristomedes is of Pherae 
and, with greater plausibility, that Agelaos belonged to the principal 
family of Pharsalus (Michel 1281, cf. Tod, GHI 147.34). The Aleuadae 
certainly survived, though with diminished influence. Our evidence for 
what happened next is almost entirely numismatic. 7 Before this time, the 
dominant coinage had been that of Larissa, on the Persian standard. We 
now have two quasi-federal groupings, both using the Aeginetan 
standard, one claiming, for the first time, the name of Thessaly. There is 
some movement of states between them, and Pharsalus stands alone. 
That she, at any rate, started to look towards Athens is suggested, e.g. by 
the activity of her citizen Menon in support of Cimon at E'ion in 476 
(Dem. xxin. 1 99). 

Obviously, we are not in a position to distinguish between what 
Leotychidas found it difficult to do and what he was bribed not to do, 
and we can hardly speculate about the nature of the opposition to him at 
home. Since the uncontradicted story in Herodotus’ day was that he 
owed the throne to a false oracle, his position can never have been 

Even less can be said with certainty about relations with Delphi and its 
Amphictyony. Of the process by which Delphi’s defeatist attitude and 
dubious actual record 8 in the Persian invasion was pushed into the 
background we hear nothing, and can only guess that some individuals 
may have lost power there. Delphi remained a major Greek shrine and 
received one of the three main Greek war-memorials (Hdt. ix.8 1 . 1 ; M— L 
27), as well as dedications from individual states (Hdt. vm.122 9 ). 
Another late story (Plut. Them. 20.3-4) describes an argument between 
the Spartans, who wanted to expel medizing states from the Amphictyo- 
nic Council, and Themistocles who argued that this would leave too few 
states in control of it. Since we can, on the basis of later representation, 
calculate that about two-thirds of the twenty-four Amphictyonic votes 
were held by medizers, the question will certainly have been raised, but 
presumably it was decided that it would be sufficient if the actual 
representatives were more respectable. Fairly shortly after the war we 

6 This is now seen to be hardly an emendation for the Agcllos of the better MS. 

7 Herrmann 1922, 1924—} (c 186-187); Franke 1970 (f 26); Kraay 1976 (c 190) 115-16. Martin 
1985 (c 194) 36-8 shows the dangers of drawing political conclusions. For a survey of the non- 
numismatic evidence see Larsen i960 (f 43). 

8 See CAH iv 2 540-2, 564-5. That Delphi’s ‘medism’ has been exaggerated is argued by Parker 

1985 (K 73) 317-18. 9 Gauer 1968 (1 68) passim. 

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5. MAINLAND GREECE, 479-45 I B. C. 

find the Amphictyones honouring the glorious dead and taking action 
against the wicked (Hdt. vn.213, 228—4; ?Paus. x.i9.i). !0 

If we take the early date for Leotychidas’ Thessalian expedition, there 
is no reason to place any Spartan activity north of the Isthmus after 476. 
On the other front, similarly, Spartan official activity ceases after the 
allies’ refusal to accept Dorcis in succession to Pausanias in late 478 or 
early 477 (see p. 35). Here, however, there is evidence that opinions were 
divided. Pausanias, in a private capacity, retained a strong interest in 
overseas ventures. How widely in Sparta his opinion was shared is 
uncertain. Thucydides’ account of his end shows some Spartans person- 
ally sympathetic to him (1.134. 1), but the main evidence for Spartan 
resentment at the loss of hegemony to Athens lies in a story dated by 
Diodorus (xi.50) to 475/4, but probably attached by Ephorus to his 
account of Aristides’ organization of the Delian League. According to 
this, there was a serious possibility that Sparta would contest the naval 
hegemony with Athens and the move to war was surprisingly averted by 
the skill of one Hetoemaridas, a member of the gerousia. The consultative 
procedure described has always interested constitutional historians 
because of its similarity to a sequence of events in the third century, 11 but 
it seems likely that the story was invented or expanded at a later date 
when it became fashionable to project the theme of Spartan hostility to 
Athens backwards. Thucydides seems to have no knowledge of it, and is 
firm that the Spartans were happy to let the Athenians continue the naval 
war (1.95.7)- 

The operations of Pausanias raise further chronological problems. It 
is clear that he stood his trial in Sparta for his conduct in 478 almost 
immediately. He was acquitted on the major charge of medism (Thuc. 
1.95.5, 128.3), though the story of his medism became more and more 
elaborate (Thuc. 1.128.4—130; a variant in Hdt. v.32). However, Thucy- 
dides does not date his later private venture, in which he held Byzantium 
for some time, was expelled from there by the Athenians, and moved to 
Colonae in the Troad, remaining there until he was recalled to Sparta by 
the ephors (Thuc. 1.128.3, 131.1— 2). I hold that this sequence roughly 
covers the rest of the decade, but certainty is impossible. 12 

After his return from Colonae, the ephors, after delays and uncertain- 
ties, felt that they had accumulated sufficient evidence to proceed to 
extreme action against him. To the original charge of medism was now 
added a charge of plotting with the helots. Thucydides was told enough 
to enable him to endorse the charge and to accept that Pausanias’ 
activities had been revolutionary. If this is true and to be given a rational 

10 It may be that it is in this period that the Spartans expelled the otherwise unknown tyrant Aulis 
of Phocis (P!ut. De mal. Hdt. 8 5 9d), despite the loyalty of Phocis to the Greek cause, but the episode 
may belong to the early 440s (Thuc. 1. r 1 2. j). 

n Plut. Agis 8-9; Jones 1966 (f 37) 168—70; Forrest 1967 (f 2j) x i. 

12 See Chronological Notes, p. 499. 

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FROM 479 TO 461 


basis, the only plausible line 13 is that Pausanias had come to see that 
Sparta’s manpower did not offer a sufficient base for the concept which 
he had of Sparta’s role, but, even in Thucydides, we are moving so close 
to romance that it is not rational to distinguish between fact, accusation 
and embroidered accusation. 14 Pausanias died, having taken refuge in 
the sanctuary of Athena of the Brazen House and been starved out there 
(c. 466). The Spartan authorities proceeded to use what they thought (or 
said) that they had discovered to discredit the Athenian Themistocles, 
now ostracized and living in Argos (see p. 65). 

At what point Plistarchus, for whom Pausanias had been the regent, 
attained his majority is uncertain, but it may not have been all that long 
before his death in, apparently, 458. Whenever Leotychidas went into 
exile, he was succeeded by a grandson, Archidamus, who will have taken 
time to make his mark. It is possible that the importance of the previous 
royal generation is exaggerated for us by the way Herodotus told his 
story, but the doubts and troubles about Leotychidas and Pausanias, 
together with the youth of their successors, will certainly have done 
much to shift the power-balance at Sparta away from the kingship in the 
direction of other centres of power in the state. 15 

We must now retrace our steps to discover why Sparta should be 
particularly sensitive at this time to possible plots with the helots and to 
Themistocles’ presence in Argos. Specifically, we are attempting to find 
out what lies behind Thucydides’ judgement (i.ii8.z) that one of the 
factors which inhibited the Spartans from interfering with the growth of 
Athenian power in the fifth century was that they were in part prevented 
by wars of their own. 

In 494 (or possibly a few years earlier 16 ), Cleomenes of Sparta at the 
battle of Sepea had knocked out Argos as an effective opponent in a 
hoplite war by a victory which is said to have cost the Argives six 
thousand men. Thereafter, Argos was forced to reorganize her citizen 
population by the absorption of persons described by Herodotus as 
slaves (vi.83), more probably members of perioecic communities (Arist. 
Pol. 130336; Plut. Mor. 24 5 F 17 ), ‘until the sons of the slain grew up’ and 

13 Lotze 1970 (f 47) 270-5. 

14 Rhodes 1970 (c 82); Westlake 1977 (c 108). 

15 For the weakness of the fifth-century kingship, see, against de Ste Croix 1972 (c 36) 138-49, 
Lewis 1977 (a 76) 43-8. 

16 The double oracle of Hdt. vi.19 and 77 only fixes the year if it was made up after the event, 
which there is no particular reason to assume. On the battle itself, see CAH tv 2 364. 

17 As argued by Gschnitzer 1958 (a 53) 69-81; Forrest i960 (f 24) 222—5. Lotze 1971 (f 48), 
followed by Adshead 1986 (f i) 37, argues that the new citizens did not come from outlying 
communities, but had been inferior within Argos itself. As evidence accumulates for the classical 
Argive constitution (see e.g. SEG xxix 36 1 , showing the Temenidai not in the tribe of their ancestor 
Hyllus, but in the new tribe Hymathioi, for which see Nilsson 1951 (k 67) 73-5), I find it 
increasingly hard to believe that such a drastic reorganization took place without the admission of 
substantial new elements to the state. For this, the aftermath of Sepea still seems the most likely date. 
A slightly different view in Andrewes 1990 (f 4). 

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5- MAINLAND GREECE, 479-45 I B. C. 

expelled the ‘slaves’ to Tiryns (Hdt. loc. cit.). For Herodotus, the sons of 
the slain had still not grown up in 481 (vu.148). He can hardly be 
thinking precisely, since Sepea will not have wiped out all male Argives 
over the age of one, and it remains an open question whether the 
expulsion of the slaves is earlier or later than 48 1 . That there is a king and 
a boule at Argos then (Hdt. vii.149.2) hardly proves the matter either 
way. If those expelled to Tiryns were perioikoi, no argument can be 
drawn from the presence of Tirynthians at the battle of Plataea, brigaded 
with Mycenaeans (Hdt. ix.28.4, 31.3), and consequently in the lists of 
those who had fought the Persian War at Delphi (M— L 27) and Olympia 
(Paus. v.23.2). 

Despite Sepea, Sparta’s position had not remained unchallenged. That 
there was a Messenian revolt in 490 which delayed the Spartan arrival at 
Marathon was asserted by Plato (Laws 698c) and has been believed by 
many scholars who have adduced flimsy supporting evidence. 18 Some 
helot trouble in the early fifth century may be inferred from Thuc. 
1.128.1, which has had less attention, but, if we believe that 3 5 ,000 helots 
accompanied the Spartans to Plataea in 479 (Hdt. ix.28.2), the Spartans 
had them well in hand at that time. More seriously, Cleomenes in 490, 
after his withdrawal from Sparta (CAH iv 2 366), had caused alarm at 
home by organizing the Arcadians and persuading them to convert their 
traditional oath to follow the Spartans wherever they might lead 19 to one 
to follow him personally. The centre of his activity was in the extreme 
north of Arcadia at Nonacris, where they swore by the waters of the river 
Styx, but it was surely more widely extended. The only manifestation of 
it which we find is that Hegesistratus, an Elean seer escaping from Sparta 
in the 480s, found Tegea on bad terms with Sparta at this time (Hdt. 
ix. 37.4). 20 

It is easier to use the names of Arcadian states as counters in a 
historical game than to form any idea of the physical and social realities 
which underlie the names. Tegea, the first substantial community to 
come into contact with Sparta ( CAH hi 2 . 3, 355) will always have had a 
focus in the cult of Athena Alea which goes back to Mycenaean times; 21 
we have no means of telling when it coalesced, first politically and then 
geographically, 22 into a single city from the nine demes of which, we are 
told, it was originally composed (Str. vm.3.2, p. 337). Mantinea, 
northwards in the same valley, is less visible in the sixth century, except 
with Demonax the lawgiver, once described as basileus (P. Oxp. 

18 Jeffery 1949 (c 1 j j) 26— 30 on M-L 22; Wallace 1954 (f 70); Huxley 1962 (f 35) 88; but see den 
Boer 1956 (b 3); Pearson 1962 (c 77)421 n. 56. 

19 de Ste Croix 1972 (g 36) 108-10; Peek 1974 (p 57 ) = SEG xxvi 461; Cartledge 1976 (f 13). 

20 See Adshead 1986 (f i) 30-2. For the coins which have been associated with Cleomenes, see 

below* p. 105. •“ 21 Callmer T943 (f 12) 24-5. 

22 Information about synoccisms is collected by Moggi 1976 (f 5 3). 

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FROM 479 TO 461 103 

1367 = Hermippus fr. 8 2 11 Wehrli); its synoecism, from five demes (four 
in Xen. Hell, v.2.8), is said to have been under Argive influence (Str. loc. 
cit.), and an older site retained the name of Ptolis (the city) until a very 
late period (Paus. vm.8.4). It is normal to attribute this Argive- 
influenced synoecism to the 470s, but perhaps one should not rule out 
earlier periods of Argive influence in Arcadia, even as early as 600 (Diod. 
vn. 1 3.2). Some stimulus to political unity in both cases will have been 
given by their appearance in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships (II. 11.607). 
In any case, by 480, we find a force at Thermopylae consisting of 1,000 
Tegeates and Mantineans (half each), 120 from Orchomenus, and 1,000 
from the rest of Arcadia (Hdt. vn.202). At Plataea there were 1,500 
Tegeates and 600 Orchomenians (Hdt. ix.28); the Mantineans arrived 
late, as we shall see, and there is no mention of a general Arcadian force. 
It seems fairly clear which Arcadian communities are approaching or 
have reached a polis-organization. 23 

A polis-organization is possible without synoecism (cf. Sparta, Thuc. 
1. 10.2). The one fixed point in the development of synoecism is provided 
by Elis, further west, where the synoecism is dated after the Persian Wars 
by Strabo (vm.3.2, p. 336) and precisely to 471/0 by Diodorus’ 
chronological source (xi.54.1). Even here there were still no walls in 401 
(Xen. Hell. 111.2.27), though the city spread into suburbs and fine 
gymnasia. At both Tegea and Mantinea, the synoecized site was on fairly 
open ground, with no acropolis or obvious natural defences; presumably 
they both had a wall-circuit from a fairly early date, 24 though the first 
Arcadian city wall attested in literature happens to be that of the much 
stronger Orchomenus (Thuc. v. 6 1.4— 5). 25 It is fashionable to associate 
synoecisms with democratic movements; 26 Elis at least has some very 
democratic-sounding institutions in the early fifth century (DGE 410.8, 
412.4 (Hill, Sources 2 B124) 27 ). But the reasoning for associating democ- 
racy and synoecism is unclear, and it seems more likely that the initiative 
towards settling in a city and building town houses will have come from 
the owners of large estates who wished to keep up with the urbanizing 
trend of greater cities. At Mantinea it appears to be the landowners who, 
in 385, after the Spartans broke up the synoecism, at first resent the need 
to tear down their houses in the city (Xen. Hell, v.z.j). Democracy, not 
certainly visible at Mantinea before 421 (Thuc. v.29.1), and the ‘unplea- 

23 For other aspects of the character of Arcadia see Adshead 1986 (f i) 21—2. 

24 Mantinea had a wall in 385, and Scranton 1941 (1 149) 57-9 argues that some of the surviving 

polygonal masonry is earlier than that, though it may have been preceded by a wall only of mud- 
brick (cf. Paus. viu.8.7- 8 for mud-brick in thepre-385 wail). For Tegea see Berard 1892 (f 5 ) 547-8. 
On the general probability of both walls being early, see Winter 1971 (1 179) 30 n. 60, 33 withn. 68, 
58. 25 See Winter 1971 (1 179) 31 n. 64. 

26 Most recently Adshead 1986 (f 1)95—8. For criticism of this prevalent view see O’Neil 1981 (f 
56). 27 See Jeffery 1961 (c 137) 218-20 for dates and discussion. 

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104 5 - MAINLAND G REECE, 479-45 I B. C. 

sant demagogues’ of the early fourth century (Xen. loc. cit.) may be a later 
development after the synoecism, and the Mantinean democracy was not 
always of a radical type (Arist. Pol. i3i8bai). 

These centralized Peloponnesian states are regularly found indulging 
in minor imperialisms of their own, attempting to incorporate or 
subjugate neighbouring rural communities. Elis had in effect reduced 
Lepreum to tributary status well before 43 1 (Thuc. v.3 1 .2), and absorbed 
other parts of Triphylia (Hdt. iv. 148.4; Str. vm.3.30, p. 355). It seems 
unlikely that the engagement in western Arcadia between Mantinea and 
Tegea in 423 (Thuc. iv. 1 34) was the first attempt either city had made to 
extend her influence in that direction (both already have allies), though 
this particular episode in which the Mantineans had established a 
permanent fort (Thuc. v.3 3) does not antedate 43 1 (Thuc. v.29.1). There 
is no particular reason to associate such expansionism with either 
oligarchic or democratic governments, and Sparta, the hegemon of the 
Peloponnesian League, may not have taken a continuous interest in it. 

Despite the evidence for 490 and the 480s (above, p. 102), both 
Tegeates and Mantineans joined Leonidas at Thermopylae in 480 (Hdt. 
vii. 202), and ‘all the Arcadians’ and the Eleans were at least included in 
the force which went to the Isthmus (Hdt. vm.72). In 479 the position 
was slightly different. The Tegeates were well represented at Plataea 
with 1,500 hoplites (ix.28) and fought well (ix.70— 1) in close alignment 
with the Spartans. But, although Plataea, with its lengthy preliminaries 
{CAH iv 2 5 99ff), was eminently a battle for which it was difficult to be 
late by accident, both the Eleans and the Mantineans arrived after the 
victory (ix.77). They blamed themselves vigorously, the Mantineans 
made a gesture of pursuit of the departing Persians, and both states 
exiled their generals when they got home. The delay even cost the 
Mantineans their place on the lists of the victorious Greeks at Delphi 
(M— L 27) and Olympia (Paus. v.23.2), though the Eleans were included, 
doubtless because of their control of Olympia. Disloyalty to the 
Peloponnesian League has been inferred by some scholars, but it is not 
clear that anything more is involved than caution in the leaderships in the 
cities about a distant and dangerous battle. 

The main evidence about Spartan troubles in the Peloponnese after 
479 lies in a list of five battles which they won under the auspices of the 
seer Tisamenus (Hdt. ix.35; Paus. in. 11.7—8). The first is Plataea, the 
second at Tegea against the Tegeates and the Argives, the third at Dipaea 
against all the Arcadians except the Mantineans, the fourth against the 
Messenians at Isthmus, 28 the fifth at Tanagra against the Athenians and 
Argives. We shall see that Tanagra was in 45 8 and that Isthmus was after 

28 This place is unknown, and the temptation to emend it to Ithome or to add Ithome was felt 
very early, to judge from Pausanias’ text. 

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FROM 479 TO 461 io 5 

465. The date of Tegea is much less certain. As for Dipaea, the recent 
consensus 29 has been to put it after 465 in the period of the Helot Revolt, 
since the Spartans fought it with much reduced numbers (Isocr. vi.99). 
This seems improbable. Dipaea is securely placed in the valley of the 
Helisson (Paus. vm.30.1), far to the north of any likely movement 
between Laconia and Messenia. An engagement there will only make 
any sense if the Spartans are on the offensive, unlikely after the revolt, 
and on a route to or back from Mantinea which will avoid Tegea. 30 If the 
force is small, perhaps we should think in terms of something like a raid 
to support pro-Spartans in Mantinea. 

This does suggest that Mantinea’s loyalty was again in doubt after 479. 
The only literary evidence which could support this is the undated 
synoecism under Argive influence, since she was absent from the battles 
of Tegea and Dipaea and there is positive evidence of her loyalty to 
Sparta at the time of the Helot Revolt (Xen. Hell, v.2.3). 31 More positive 
evidence for activity at Mantinea may come from the substantial series of 
coins labelled Arkadikon which proclaim Arcadian unity (Fig. 2). Their 
dating and interpretation has varied. 32 It used to be thought that they 
were festival issues of no political significance, but this is hard to square 
with the demonstration that three separate mints were at work, and we 
can hardly overlook the fact that the predominant denomination is the 
triobol on the Aeginetan standard, known from Thuc. v.47.6 as a 
standard Peloponnesian soldier’s ration allowance. It now seems hard to 
refer the beginnings of the issue to Cleomenes’ activities in 490, and the 
start, at a single mint, 33 seems to fall after 480. At a later stage this mint is 
joined by two others. Though the evidence for identifying these mints is 
somewhat tenuous, there is a reasonable case for referring one of them to 
Tegea, and it is not implausible to see Mantinea in the third, which long 
survives the other two, perhaps until 418. If Mantinea returned to the 
Peloponnesian League at the time of Dipaea, Sparta may have tolerated 
the survival of a claim to an Arcadian entity there. 

Tegea’s dissatisfaction seems to have been longer lasting, 34 though we 

29 Wade-Gery 1958 (a 121) 84 with n. 3; Andrcwcs 1952 (f 2) 3-4; Forrest i960 (f 24) 229. 

30 Cf. Andrewes, HCT iv 32. 

31 Synoecism in itself is not necessarily anti-Spartan. At Elis, after the punishment of the dilatory 
generals of 479, there seems no reason to find hostility to Sparta. Elis falls into a period of political 
obscurity (we do not even hear of any Elean force in action till 43 5, Thuc. 1.27.2) and cultural glory, 
as she embarks on the rebuilding of the temple of Zeus at Olympia (see p. 189); if we could trust 
Pausanias (v.10.2), this would be an assertion of supremacy in her own area. 

32 See Wallace 1954 (f 70) 3 3-4; Williams 1965 (c 199); Caltabiano 1969/70(0 182); Kraay 1976 (c 

190) 97-8. 33 Clitor for Williams, but perhaps Orchomenus should be considered. 

34 Besides the battles of Tegea and Dipaea, we have to fit in Simonides fr. 122 (see Page 198 1 (j 82) 
278-9 n. LUi) for men who saved Tegea from destruction (perhaps the battle of Tegea seen in a 
different light) and what looks like the conclusion of the whole sequence, Polyaenus 3, 
Cleandridas’ capture of Tegea with the aid of laconizing aristoi . Since Cleandridas was active well 
after 445, the later this last is put the better, and it may well belong even to the 450s. 

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5. MAINLAND G R E E C E, 479-4 5 I B. C. 

Fig. 2. Silver coin of the Arcadian League, 
about 465 B.c. (After British Museum Cata- 
logue of Coins Peloponnese pi. 3 1 , 18; cf. 
Kraay 1976 (c 190) no. 289.) 

do not know its causes. She had indeed lost her argument at Plataea that 
she was entitled to the left wing as the most honourable place after that of 
the Spartans (Hdt. ix. 26-28.1), but the post she was given, next to the 
Spartans, was nearly as honourable and one which we find her occupying 
later (Xen. Hell, iv.2.20). Other motives are more likely, perhaps a 
conflict of interests in western Arcadia; for later Spartan sensitivity here, 
compare Thuc. v.33.1. In any case, the presence of Argives at the battle 
of Tegea warns us that wider issues were involved. 

Argos had been neutral in 480 and 479; Herodotus’ account assumes 
that this neutrality might amount, if occasion served, to actual medism 
( vii. 148— 52, ix. 12). The limits of her influence at this point may be 
defined by those of her neighbours, some of them at times her subjects, 
who appear on the Greek side: Mycenae by itself (vn.202, with 80 men) 
and grouped together with Tiryns (ix.28, 400 men), Epidaurus (eight 
rising to ten triremes, viii.i, 43; 800 men, ix.28), Troezen (five triremes, 
VIII. 1, 43; 1,000 men, ix.28, and providing a naval base, vm.42.1), 
Hermione (three triremes, vni.43; 300 men, ix.28); all these duly appear 
on the Greek victory lists. It looks as if Argos has lost all influence east of 
the river Inachus. We learn without surprise that one of the Argive 
grievances against Mycenae was its claim to the cult of Hera (Diod. 
ix. 65 .2), and there is slight, but positive, epigraphic evidence ( SEG xm 
246) that Argos had lost control of the Argive Heraeum in this period. 
The uncertainty in this direction, as we have seen (above p. 102), is the 
nature of Tiryns in 480-79. It is assumed here that the ‘slaves’ had 
already been expelled to Tiryns and that the Argive government was 
already one of ‘the sons of the slain’, naturally hostile to Sparta. 35 The 
main remaining uncertainty about what Argos controlled is in the north, 
where the small town of Cleonae had importance for her as the means of 
controlling a panhellenic festival, the Nemean Games. 36 Mycenae is 

35 For an alternative view, in which the aristocratic leanings of ‘the sons of the slain* incline them 
to Sparta and which defers their counter-revolution until about 468, see Forrest i960 (f 24) 225—7. 

36 Lewis 1981 (E41) 74; Adshead 1986 (f 1)35, 59-61. See also her study (4— 7) of the geographical 
position of Cleonae and Nemea. 

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FROM 479 TO 4^! 10 7 

found asserting a claim to Nemea as well (Diod. loc. cit.), and the position 
of Cleonae was certainly at issue in this period (see p. 109). But Cleonae 
does not seem to have taken part in the Persian War and, alone of the 
panhellenic sanctuaries, Nemea received no Greek victory dedication. 
Cleonae was certainly in Argive control in 465 (Str. vni.6. 19, p. 377), and 
it looks as if Argos held on to it practically without a break. Of Orneae, 
in the same general area, we hear nothing in this period. 

The long-term aim of any Argive regime will have been to rebuild the 
city’s manpower and territorial control, although short-term political 
considerations may have modified this, as when the ‘slaves’ were ejected. 
The process which followed is summarized by Pausanias (vm.27. 1): the 
Argives were in continual risk of subjection by Sparta until they 
strengthened Argos’ population by destroying (or incorporating?) 
Tiryns, Hysiae, Orneae, Mycenae and other unimportant towns of the 
Argolid; this gave them greater security from the Spartans and greater 
power with their neighbours. 37 The process envisaged here was a long 
one; Orneae was still independent in 418 (Thuc. v.67.2) and not 
demolished until 416 (Thuc. vi.7.1— 2). 

According to Herodotus (vi. 8 3), it was the slaves at Tiryns who, some 
time after their expulsion from Argos, took the initiative in attacking 
their masters, urged on by a seer from Arcadian Phigalea; a long war 
followed, finally won by the Argives. This certainly ended the indepen- 
dence of Tiryns. Some of the inhabitants may have been incorporated 
into the Argive population (Paus. 11.25.8, vm.27. 1); some certainly 
moved on to the coastal town of Halieis (Hdt. vn. 137.2; Str. vin.6.1 1, p. 
3 73 38 )- We can hardly fix the dates, and it is perfectly possible that the 
final capture of Tiryns is to be put relatively late, after the other events in 
this period in which Argos is involved. 39 

Argos’ efforts at recovery and Tegea’s independent line are both in a 
sense anti-Spartan. Cooperation between Argos and Tegea is twice 
attested: Argos helped Tegea at the battle of Tegea (Hdt. ix.35); Tegea 
helped Argos in the capture of Mycenae (Str. vn.6.19, p. 377). We shall 
see reason to date the latter after 465. But the visible contacts between 
Argos and Sparta are more contradictory. The battle of Tegea was a 
battle against Sparta, but when, after Pausanias’ death, the Spartans and 
Athenians sent missions to arrest Themistocles, living in ostracism at 
Argos (see p. 65), Themistocles did not think he could rely on Argive 
resistance to the demand and fled from the Peloponnese (Thuc. 1. 1 3 5 . 2— 
1 36.1). The views so far adopted in this volume (pp. 45, 66) put this event 
around 466. 

37 Tr€pioUovs can hardly be technical here; what perioikoi would be left? See Andrewes 1 990 (f 4). 

38 On the text see Aly and Sbordone 1950 (c i) 245-6, and Baladie 1978 (c 8) ad loc. 

39 Sec Chronological Notes, p. 500. 

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108 5 - MAINLAND GREECE, 479-45 I B.C. 

According to Thucydides, Themistocles, though living at Argos, had 
been making visits to the rest of the Peloponnese. It has been assumed 40 
that there is a hint to be taken here, that these visits are to be associated 
with anti-Spartan, democratic, synoecisms in the Peloponnese and, in 
particular, with trouble for Sparta in Arcadia, and that it was these local 
activities which prompted Spartan action against him. It is a shade 
disquieting that the copious ancient tradition about Themistocles shows 
no signs of having taken the hint and gives him no specific anti-Spartan 
activity at this time, despite the various scraps suggesting earlier hostility 
to Sparta. 41 But, even if we discount the anti-Spartan nature of the Elean 
synoecism and are agnostic about the date of that at Mantinea, there does 
seem to be enough trouble in Arcadia, at any rate, for the Spartans to 
hold against Themistocles and for them to be in a generally sensitive 
mood. Whether their suspicions of Themistocles in Argos were firmly 
grounded or general, they could support them with evidence (true or 
false) about his correspondence with Pausanias and felt that they could 
ask for Athenian support in removing him; they had, after all, acquiesced 
in the Athenian expulsion of Pausanias from Byzantium (p. too). 

If the Spartan-Athenian move against Themistocles is to be dated 
around 466, it would seem unlikely that any further major events in the 
Peloponnese intruded before the Helot Revolt, generally and rightly 
dated in 46 5, 42 at least on the assumption that the battle of Dipaea and 
therefore that of Tegea antedated that revolt. Argos may have been 
sufficiently daunted by the battle of Tegea to be unwilling to resist 
Spartan demands, at least with pressure from Athens added. 

The earthquake at Sparta which sparked off the revolt was certainly 
substantial; late sources speak of 20,000 dead (Diod. xi.63.1), all but five 
houses destroyed and ‘all the ephebes’ killed (Plut. Cim. 16.4-5). 
Opinions differ about the long-term effect on Spartan manpower and the 
contribution of the earthquake to the situation of 425 when the capture 
of 120 Spartiates was a major disaster (see p. 41 5); it must surely be true 
that a loss of citizen women will have had serious demographic effects. 43 
The young king Archidamus, grandson of Leotychidas, was said to have 
behaved well in the emergency and to have seen the importance of 
military readiness (Diod. xi.63.5— 7; Plut. Cim. 16.6). For Thucydides, 

40 Gomme, HCT i 408-9, 437; Andrewes 1952 (f 2); Forrest 1960^ 24); Adshead 1986 (f i) 86- 
103. But see O’Neil 1981 (f 56). 

41 The episodes of Athens’ walls, the projected burning of the Greek fleet, the expulsion of 
medizers from the Amphictyony. 42 See Chronological Notes, p. 500. 

43 The fullest recent argument is that of Toynbee 1969 (a 1 1 5) 346-52, criticized by Cartledge 
1979 ( F M) 2.21—1. That the Spartiate population fell steadily is not in dispute, and I am not out of 
sympathy with Cartledge’s discussion of other factors (see particularly 307-17, and compare 
Hodkinson 1986 (f 3 1)); the question is how great a push the earthquake gave the decline. See also 
Cawkwell 1983 (f 16) 385-90. 

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FROM 479 TO 461 


the revolt which followed was predominantly Messenian, though joined 
by two perioecic communities, Thouria in the lower Pamisus valley of 
Messenia and Aethaea, which we cannot place; the rebels immediately 
established a base on Mount Ithome, the last stronghold of independent 
Messenia (see CAH hi 2 . 3, 328). Herodotus gives us a Spartan disaster at 
Messenian Stenyclarus in which 300 Spartans were wiped out (ix.64.2) 
and a victory at Isthmus (ix.35.2 44 ). Diodorus and Plutarch seem to 
presuppose more activity by the Laconian helots and even a projected 
attack on Sparta itself. That there was a serious threat to Sparta would 
follow from the Athenian claim that Cimon had saved Sparta when it was 
under heavy Messenian pressure (Ar. Lys. 1137-44 with scholia 45 ). 
Plutarch ( Cim . 16.8—17.3) accepted this and the consequences that 
Cimon led two Athenian expeditions to Sparta during the war, but 
Thucydides only describes one expedition by Cimon (see below), and it 
seems slightly more likely that Aristophanes is exaggerating the services 
which it performed. It is clear, at any rate, that the war was largely fought 
in Messenia, that it had its elements of open warfare, and that the 
Spartans only slowly drove the Messenians back to their base on Ithome. 

Sparta was not without support. We hear of help from Aegina (Thuc. 
11.27. 2, iv.56.2) and Mantinea (Xen. Hell, v.2.3); the Plataeans (Thuc. 
hi. 5 4. 5) presumably came with the Athenians. Neither Elis nor Corinth 
is attested, and the situation could have been worse. Despite their 
hostility to Sparta in the previous decade, Argos and Tegea made no 
attempt to intervene. It was more important to Argos to use Spartan 
preoccupation as an occasion for a final settlement with Mycenae, which 
was destroyed after a siege (Diod. xi.65; Str. vm.6.10, p. 372) with 
Tegeate help (Str. vm.6.19, p. 377). We have suggested (above, p. 107) 
that the Argive capture of Tiryns also belongs to this period. 46 

Corinthian neutrality has been inferred from Plut. Cim. 17. 1-2, a 
passage which certainly attests aggressive Corinthian behaviour both to 
the north against Megara and to the south against Cleonae (see above, 
p. 107). The first evidence for Corinthian activity after the Persian Wars 
suggests an attempt to strengthen her grip over her colonial dependen- 
cies in north-western Greece. 47 Thucydides (1. 103.4) goes further than 
Plutarch and attests an actual war in the 460s between Corinth and 

44 See Cartledge 1979 (p 14) 219 for a suggestion about the location. 

45 The version is adopted by Spartans in 369, Xen. Hell, vi.j.33. 

46 Strong arguments have been produced (Amandry 1980 (k i) 233-40) for supposing that the 
Argive decision to reshape the Heraeum site had already been taken around 460 in the euphoria at 
regaining control of the Argolid. The archaeological evidence shows that work there long 
antedated the burning of the temple in 423 (Thuc. iv. 133.2), and there is unpublished epigraphic 
evidence pointing to a similar conclusion. 

47 Graham 1964 (a 52) 128-30; for Leucas see Plut. Them. 24.1. 

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J. MAINLAND G R EE C E, 479-45 I B. C. 

Megara, perhaps made possible by Spartan preoccupation. It has been 
argued 48 that Plutarch’s story about Cleonae and events at the beginning 
of major hostilities in 459 suggest that Corinth had for some time been 
building influence at the expense of Argos, that she had been backing 
Mycenae and showing considerable interest in the area to the east of the 
Argolid; in these activities she had the support of Sicyon and Epidaurus. 
For her, then, as for Argos, there were interests to be pursued close to 
home, but it would be surprising if she had not made even a token 
gesture to help Sparta. 

By 462, the main problem remaining for the Spartans was the 
Messenian position on Ithome, defended, apparently, by stockades 
which they found it hard to deal with. Athenian skill in dealing with such 
defences had been demonstrated at Plataea and Mycale (Hdt. ix.70.1— 2, 
102.2—4), and Thucydides (1. 102.2) gives this as the principal reason for 
asking Athenian help. Whether the Athenians had any obligation to 
come is unclear. 49 The debate at Athens and the relationship of Cimon’s 
expedition to Athenian internal politics are discussed elsewhere 
(pp. 68—9). The expedition was authorized, and Cimon came to Sparta 
with a large force (4,000 hoplites in Ar. Lys. 1 1 43, if that passage refers to 
this occasion; see above). However, before any substantial success was 
achieved, the Spartans, ‘suspecting Athenian daring and neoteropoiia\ 
dismissed them, alone of all the allies, saying that they had no further use 
for them. In chapter 4, the reference to neoteropoiia is taken to be the 
revolutionary spirit manifested in the reforms of Ephialtes; it has also 
been held 50 that the Athenian troops were visibly coming to doubt 
whether the Messenians were really the revolted slaves they had been 
sent to subdue. The rebuff was a turning-point in Greek history, 
precipitating a major change in Athenian policy which we discuss in the 
next section. 

Some emend Thuc. 1. 103. 1 and place the end of the Messenian War in 
461 and 460. 51 We are here accepting the text and ending the war in 456/ 
5, but, like Thucydides, we record it here. The terms agreed were 
notably favourable, testimony to Spartan desperation as well as to their 
obedience to a Delphic oracle ‘to release the suppliant of Zeus of 
Ithome’. The occupants of Ithome and their families could leave the 
Peloponnese freely; they could only be seized if they returned to it; they 
would then become the personal property of their captor. The Athenians 
could find a use for them (see p. 117), and they will return to the 
narrative, formally known as Messenians. 

48 Lewis 1981 (e 41), and, quite independently, but with a greater stress on the Nemean Games, 
Adshead 1986 (f i), 67—85. 

49 The alliance against the Mede was still in force (Thuc. 1. 102.4); nothing follows from the 
epexegetic ^ufifiaxovs at 102.1. 

50 de Ste Croix 1972 (g 36) 179-80. 51 See Chronological Notes, p. 500. 

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I 1 1 


‘As soon as the Athenians returned home, they renounced the alliance 
they had made with the Spartans against the Mede and became allies of 
the Argives their enemies, and both of them made the same oaths and 
alliances with the Thessalians’ (Thuc. 1. 102.4). Thucydides did not need 
to stress that in the Persian Wars Argos had pursued an ambiguous 
neutrality and Thessaly had medized. After his ‘footnote’ about the end 
of the Messenian War, he continued: 

The Megarians too joined the Athenians in alliance, leaving the Spartans, 
because of their border war with Corinth. The Athenians acquired Megara and 
Pegae and built for the Megarians the long walls from the city to Nisaea and 
garrisoned them themselves. And it was not least on account of this that the 
Corinthians first conceived their violent hatred for the Athenians. 

It has been suggested 52 that this new grouping was defensive, that 
Athens now realized that Sparta was basically hostile to her, now learnt 
that the Spartans had considered helping Thasos in 465 (p. 44; Thuc. 
1.101.1-2), 53 and looked for the kind of help which would be useful; 
Argos would provide hoplites, Thessaly cavalry, Megara a position on 
the Isthmus to impede Spartan action. This view seems hardly likely. 
Sparta was still, on our view, involved with the Messenians, and the 
Athenians would hardly have embarked on the Cyprus campaign which 
developed into the Egyptian expedition (p. 50) if substantial trouble 
were expected on the mainland. 

It seems more reasonable to suppose that Athenian policy was 
expansionist, and that the Spartan alliance and memories of 480—479 
would no longer be allowed to stand in the way of implementing policies 
which had been in many minds for many years. Athens’ initial wish will 
have been to have a final, long-delayed, settlement with Aegina (see 
CAH iv 2 365—7). Aegina was on good terms with Sparta (see p. 109) and 
probably a member of the Peloponnesian League; we shall see that her 
independence was a prime concern for Corinth. Megara wanted security 
from Corinth. Argos wanted self-respect and at least the re-establish- 
ment of her position in her own area; we have argued that Corinth had 
been meddling in it. Corinth seems to be the main target of the new 
alliance. This will not hold for Thessaly, but there are indications that 
some Thessalians, perhaps the Aleuadae, had been angling for Athenian 
support for some time. 54 The attraction for Athens may have been 
cavalry, but there may also have been ideas in Athens about exercising 
pressure in Boeotia. 

52 Jeffery 1965 (1 81) 52; de Ste Croix 1972 (g j6) 182-5. 

53 This rumour, apparently unknown in 462, cannot have gained currency at Athens before this 
point. 54 Jeffery 1965 (1 81) 52 n. 49. 

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I 12 

5. MAINLAND G R EEC E, 479— 45 I B. C. 

The timing of what follows presents problems which we discuss 
elsewhere. 55 Spectacular diplomatic action was not, at Athens, always 
followed up militarily, and, on our view, there is nothing to fill 460 
except the take-over and securing of Megara. The Long Walls to Nisaea 
were only a fifth of the length of the Athenian Long Walls to the Piraeus 
(Thuc. iv. 66. 3 against n.13.7), but will have taken time to complete. 
Corinth was being warned off, and a positive threat to her was created by 
the occupation of Pegae on the Corinthian Gulf. There may still have 
been some uncertainty at Athens as to how far and how fast the new 
policy should go, and its claims were matched against those of older 

It is after all noteworthy that the change in internal politics at Athens 
led only to the abandonment of Cimon’s Spartan policy, and not also to 
slackening of the Persian War, with which he was equally identified. The 
Eurymedon campaign (p. 43) had not liberated the Greeks of Cyprus, 
and the Thasian revolt (p. 44) had inhibited a further move in this 
direction. In 459 an Athenian and allied fleet of 200 ships lay in Cypriot 
waters. It did not stay there long; its further moves, successes and 
ultimate defeat are described in chapter 3. 

However, the new alliance got to work on the mainland as well in 45 9. 
The first move may have been on a small scale, and was in the interests of 
Argos. An Athenian force landed at Halieis, now occupied by the exiled 
Tirynthians, and was caught and defeated by a combined force of 
Corinthians, Epidaurians and Sicyonians, 56 demonstrating their interest 
in the Argolid. The Athenian navy did better, winning a naval battle 
over ‘Peloponnesians’ (presumably the same combination) at Cecrypha- 
lea, between Epidaurus and Aegina. A much greater battle followed, off 
Aegina itself, in which both Athens and Aegina were supported by allies. 
The Athenians captured seventy ships and, under Leocrates, laid siege to 
Aegina. They had established naval superiority in the Saronic Gulf, but 
the Corinthians and their allies were determined to save Aegina, the 
capture of which would seal that superiority. They slipped a small force 
across to Aegina, but placed their main hopes on an invasion of the 
Megarid. They seized the heights of Geranea to the north of Megara, 
and invaded the plain. They could not believe that the Athenians had the 
strength to help the Megarians, with so much effort already committed 
against Aegina and in Egypt; if they did try, that would relieve the siege 
of Aegina. Thucydides’ brief narrative takes on a warmer glow. ‘But the 
Athenians did not move the force at Aegina, but the oldest and the 
youngest of those left in the city arrived at Megara, under the command 
ofMyronides.’ These reserve forces (probably those from 18 to 20 and 50 

55 See Chronological Notes, pp. 500-1. 

56 The Sicyonians, not in Thucydides, are attested by SEC xxxi 369. 

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to 59), presumably with the Megarians, fought a drawn battle. The 
Corinthians withdrew, which was in the circumstances tantamount to a 
defeat, and the Athenians set up a trophy. The Corinthians, heavily 
criticized by their elders at home, returned twelve days later and started 
to set up their own trophy. They were beaten off. A largish group, losing 
their way on the march home, found themselves trapped in a quarry and 
were wiped out by a combination of hoplites and light-armed troops. 
Corinth had had a bad year, and we hear little more of her for some 
time. 57 

It is likely that the Megarian Long Walls had shown their value in this 
campaign, and the Athenians now embarked on long walls of their own, 
a project, nearly five times as large, which shaped the strategy of the rest 
of the century. Themistocles had said (Thuc. 1.93.7) that, if Athens were 
hard pressed by land, it would be more important to hold on to Piraeus 
than to Athens itself. The Long Walls, a shorter one covering Phalerum, 
a longer Piraeus, eliminated the need for such a choice. The Athens— 
Piraeus— Phalerum complex would henceforth be as near to an island 
(Thuc. 1.143.5, [Xen.] Ath. Pol. 2.14-16) as anything on the mainland 
could be. We can say little about the details of this great enterprise, 
destroyed in 404. Leake in 1841 58 saw well-built foundations, over 3^ 
metres thick (see p. 208, Fig. 25). 

The walls would hardly have been started now, had it not been 
thought possible that the conflict would widen and that Sparta would 
come in, even though she was still involved at Ithome. 59 Sparta did come 
into the war in 458, but curiously sideways. 60 For Thucydides (1.107), 
there was no original Spartan intention of attacking Athens at all. Sparta 
was provoked by a Phocian attack on her supposed mother-city Doris 
into an expedition into central Greece. The expedition was large, 
involving 1,500 Spartans (presumably including perioeci) and 10,000 
allies, and some scholars 61 have been unwilling to believe that it can have 
had the limited objective of protecting Doris. They have appealed to 
Plutarch (Cim. 17.4), in whose manuscripts Delphi rather than Doris is 
the object of aggression, or to Diodorus (xi.8 1.2—3), where, in a later 
stage of the account, a desire to promote Theban interests is relevant. 
This is not Thucydides’ story, and it is unwise to underestimate what 

57 Athenian casualties in 459 will also have been very heavy. Now that a parallel text to M— L 33 
has appeared ( SEG xxxiv 45), it is no longer safe to regard that text, with its 170-odd dead, as an 
exceptional monument for the tribe Erechtheis alone. Simple multiplication by ten would be 
dangerous, but the total surely ran well into four figures. 58 Leake 1841 (d 46) 1 4 17. 

59 The continuation of the Messenian War is presumed, not only from the text of Thuc. 1.103.1, 
but from the absence of Archidamus in 458. [Xen.] Ath. Pol. 3.11 will hardly bear the weight some 
have put on it. 

60 For recent argument that Sparta did not play an aggressive role in the war, see Holladay 1 977 (f 
32), Lewis 1981 (e 41); and, against Salmon 1984 (f 61) 420-1, Holladay 1985 (f 33). 

61 E.g. Walker, CAH v* 79-80. 

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1 14 

5. MAINLAND GREECE, 479— 45 1 B. C. 

Sparta might do from motives of religion and sentiment. 62 We follow 
Thucydides, assuming only that he has antedated the period at which the 
Spartan allies reached 10,000. 63 

Having settled with Phocis, the Spartan commander, Nicomedes, 
regent for Plistoanax son of Pausanias, found himself in a difficulty. The 
expedition had presumably come by sea across the Corinthian Gulf, but 
that way of return was thought likely to be blocked by an Athenian naval 
squadron. The alternative route, through the Megarid, was also blocked 
by the Athenians, not only in Megara, but watching the difficult roads 
across Geranea. 64 He decided to wait in Boeotia and see what might turn 
up; no eagerness for a clash with Athens is visible. Thucydides does not 
say, but one of the sources of Diodorus (xi.8. 1 .1— 3) did, that at this point 
the Thebans prevailed upon the Spartan force to enlarge their wall- 
circuit and give them control of the Boeotian League. In Boeotia, 
Nicomedes was approached secretly by Athenians, hoping to abolish 
Ephialtic democracy and stop the building of the Long Walls; the two 
are obviously thought to be interconnected. Aeschylus’ Eumenides, 
produced that spring, had spoken with foreboding about the possibility 
of civil war at Athens (861— 6). 65 Thucydides does not say that Nico- 
medes was impressed, but the fact that he moved as far east as Tanagra 
perhaps suggests that he was. 66 

At Athens the Ephialtic strand of policy which in 462 had advocated 
the trampling of the Spartans now gained full control. The Spartans 
were fostering plotters against democracy and they were cut off from 
home; such an opportunity might never recur. The Athenians them- 
selves crossed the border to Tanagra in full force; a thousand Argives 
and some Thessalian cavalry came to help, as well as other allies, 
described by the Spartans in their victory dedication (M-L 36) as 
Ionians; not only naval forces, as at Aegina, but land allies from the 
Delian League were now being employed against Greeks. The force, 
14,000 in all, outnumbered the Spartans and their allies, only now 
perhaps rising to 11,5 00. The battle seems to have lasted two days (Diod. 
xi. 80, with some confusing details 67 ). The facts most remembered were 
that the Thessalians changed sides, no doubt for reasons of internal 
politics, 68 and that losses on both sides were heavy. 69 The Spartans 

62 Doris could have been important as the basis for Spartan representation on the Amphictyonic 
Council; see Zeilhofer 1959 (f 73) 36-8, 43-4; Daux 1957 (a 22) 104—5; Roux 1979 (f 60) 4-9. 

63 See Reece 1950 (e 67). 64 See Hammond 1973 (a 54) 435. 

65 But Macleod 1983 (a 82) 25-7 shows that this is not necessarily a reference to contemporary 
events. 66 For Tanagra, seep. 96, but we can hardly be sure what is going on there. 

67 The confusion of Diodorus’ narrative of Tanagra and Oenophyta is sorted out by Andrewes 
1985 (c 7). 

68 Jeffery 1961 (c 137) 375, with text of a Thessalian victory dedication, on which see also Larsen 
i960 (f 43) 241-2. A new gravestone of a man from Atrax who died in the battle ( SEC xxxiv 560; 
Hansen, CEC 2.637) is notably ambiguous. 

69 The Argives may have lost as many as four hundred of their thousand (M-L 35; Clairmont 
1983 (k 17) 136-8). 

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certainly in a sense won (cf. Hdt. ix.3 5 .2), but Diodorus (xi.80.6) makes 
the battle a draw and followed by a four-month truce. Such a truce makes 
slightly better sense of Thucydides’ account, by which the Spartans went 
home through Geranea and the Isthmus, pausing only to chop down 
trees in the Megarid. They had certainly not conducted themselves as if 
they had instructions to make war on Athens. 

Diodorus’ truce has been connected with an unsolved problem about 
Cimon. Plutarch ( Cim . 17.4—9) has an elaborate story of how he, though 
in ostracism, had wished to fight on the Athenian side at Tanagra. The 
boule had decided to reject the offer, but he encouraged his friends to fight 
gallantly and remove the suspicion that they were pro-Spartan. This 
influenced the Athenians to recall him and he immediately made peace 
between Athens and Sparta. This is very close to, though not the same as, 
a fragment of Theopompus ( FGrH 1 1 5 f 88), by which the Athenians 
recalled Cimon to make peace, when he had not yet completed five years 
of ostracism. I am more inclined than the author of chapter 4 (p. 75) to 
accept the recall, but, since, in Plutarch, it appears to belong to the winter 
after the battle and Plutarch, at any rate, seems to be thinking of the 
armistice of 451 (below, p. 120), Diodorus’ armistice after Tanagra 
appears to be something different. 

If the Spartans had had enough for 458, the Athenians had not. 

On the sixty-second day after the battle, they made an expedition against the 
Boeotians under the command of Myronides, and, beating the Boeotians in 
battle at Oenophyta, they gained control of Boeotia and Phocis, took down the 
walls of Tanagra, took the hundred richest of the Opuntian Locrians as captive, 
and finished their own long walls. And after this the Aeginetans too came to 
terms with the Athenians, taking down their walls, surrendering their ships, and 
agreeing a tribute for the future. (Thuc. 1. 108.2-4) 

We have no idea where Oenophyta was, and Thucydides’ order may be 
more logical than chronological. 70 To these gains of 45 8 we can perhaps 
add the port of Naupactus on the north coast of the Corinthian Gulf, 
taken from the Ozolian Locrians (Thuc. 1. 103. 4). 71 

Athenian control now extended far beyond the original naval alliance, 
but we can hardly assess either the amount of strength it brought Athens 

70 Diodorus’ order (xi. 8 2. 5-83) is: siege of Tanagra and destruction of its wails, general ravaging 
of Boeotia provoking the Boeotians to battle, capture of all Boeotian cities except Thebes, gaining 
control of the Opuntian Locrians and taking of hostages, a further move resulting in control of the 
Phocians and taking hostages from them. To this campaign he adds what appears to be the same 
campaign against Pharsalus which appears in Thuc. i.iii.i; no commander is named there, but 
Myronides is not impossible for it. 

71 For those who maintain the manuscript text of Thuc. 1. 103. 1 (see Chronological Notes, p. 500), 
the only limiting factor for this acquisition is the end of the Messenian War, 458 then becomes the 
most likely date, and the connexion will be with the Athenian fleet, estimated by Diodorus (xi.8o. 1) 
at fifty ships, which Nicomedes had been expecting in the Corinthian Gulf. Those who maintain 
Thucydides’ strict order and emend 1.103.1 have to assume an Athenian periplous to the Corinthian 
Gulf in 461 or so (even before the accession of Megara had given Athens Pegae), which has left no 
trace except this capture of Naupactus. 

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Il6 5. MAINLAND G R EEC E, 479-45 I B. C. 

or how the control actually worked. The new territories entered into 
some form of alliance with Athens (they provide troops at Thuc. 
1. 1 1 1. 1 ); it has generally been assumed that they were differentiated from 
the members of the Delian League. 72 Theban speakers in Thucydides 
twice (111.62. 5 , iv. 92. 6) attribute Athenian success in Boeotia to Boeotian 
stasis, and Pericles said (Arist. Rhet. 140732) that the Boeotians were like 
holm-oaks; as they knocked each other down as they fell, so did the 
Boeotians by fighting each other. That suggests that the stasis is between 
cities. We have seen slight numismatic evidence for Tanagra’s claims to 
hegemony after 479 (p. 96) and an assertion by Diodorus that Sparta 
backed renewed Theban pretensions in 458 (p. 114). But, if this is the 
stasis in question, it is not obvious that Athens took sides in it. It was 
Tanagra’s walls which Athens demolished after Oenophyta, and Dio- 
dorus (xi.83.1), generally disbelieved, asserts that Thebes remained 
independent. The problems are, if anything, worse at the level of party or 
constitutional stasis. There are two main pieces of evidence. Aristotle 
{Pol. i302b25) speaks of a time after Oenophyta when democracy at 
Thebes was destroyed by its disorder and anarchy which won the 
contempt of the wealthy, and a fifth-century Athenian speaks of a time 
when Athens unsuccessfully backed ‘the best men’ in Boeotia ([Xen.] 
Ath. Pol. 3 . 1 1 ). There is little point in trying speculative combinations; 73 
Athens will have backed whatever groups seemed likely to support 
her, 74 perhaps without regard to their ostensible political colour, and 
may have changed policy from time to time. She could, for example, 
have started by allowing a Theban democracy to retain its walls. By 447 
Athenian control was weak in north-western Boeotia, and exiles had 
seized at least Orchomenus and Chaeronea (Thuc. 1.113.1). 

The fall of Aegina, the last event to be attributed to 45 8, perhaps gave 
most pleasure in Athens. The ‘eyesore of the Piraeus’ was now under 
control, her fleet, a threat to Athens for fifty years, had gone for good, 
she was indistinguishable from any other member of the Delian League. 
This had been achieved in the teeth of a now quiescent Corinth, and 
Athens was now supreme in the Saronic Gulf, a supremacy to be 
confirmed, at dates which we cannot fix, by the acquisition of Troezen 
(Thuc. 1.115.1) and, for a time at any rate, Hermione ( IG i 3 31). 

Thucydides’ main narrative gives us no events for the campaigning 
season of 45 7. 75 We need not regard it as a totally blank year. The 

72 The view that IG i 3 9 records a treaty with the members of the Delphic Amphictyony and 
belongs to this year is rejected by Roux 1979 (f 60) 45 — 6, 239-40. It has been suggested that at least 
Orchomenus may have paid tribute in the strict sense in 452 (Lewis 1981 (e 41) 77 n. 43), and it 
would also be possible to restore Acraephnia in IG i 3 259.1 1 1 20 of 45 3. 

73 See Larsen i960 (f 42A) 9-10 with 17 n. 2; Buck 1979 (f n) 148—50; Demand 1982 (f 20) 34—5. 

74 Cf. the Thespian proxenoi of 7 Gi 3 23, one of whom is called Athenaios; his family’s connexions 
with Athens will have been of long standing. 

75 For this unorthodox view, see Chronological Notes, p. 501. 

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tightening of Athens’ grip on Boeotia and Phocis will not have been a 
small matter, and there is also Troezen to be considered. There will also 
have been uncertainty about Spartan intentions. The story in Plutarch 
about Cimon’s recall (see above, p. 1 1 5) could imply the expectation of a 
Spartan invasion of Attica in spring 457, and it may not be coincidence 
that this also seems to be the most likely year for a Persian mission to 
Sparta (Thuc. 1.109.3). Thucydides’ story is that the King sent one 
Megabazos to Sparta with money to persuade the Peloponnesians to 
invade Egypt; he did not succeed and some of the money was wasted. 76 
Either Sparta did not fancy facing the Megarid again or she remained 
unwilling to fight Athens in any whole-hearted manner. 77 

Thucydides’ next item, to be dated to the summer of 45 6, is Tolmides’ 
circumnavigation of the Peloponnese. His account is brief. He only 
mentions three stopping places; the burning of the Spartan dockyard, 
the capture of Chalcis, a Corinthian settlement west of Naupactus, a 
landing at Sicyon and a victory here. Since he uses the word periplous 
(circumnavigation) and two of the three stops are in the Gulf of Corinth, 
we can believe that, whatever damage was intended to Sparta on the way, 
one of the main objects of the expedition was to carry the war there. 
Diodorus (xi.84) provides more detail. Tolmides, wishing to compete 
with Myronides’ glory, advocated the ravaging of Laconia. He was 
given fifty ships and a thousand hoplites, which he succeeded in 
increasing unofficially to four thousand. 78 He took Methone in Laco- 
nia, 79 but withdrew at the Spartans’ approach. He captured Gytheum, 
burnt the Spartan dockyards there, and ravaged Laconian territory. He 
then moved to the mouth of the Corinthian Gulf, won over Zacynthos 
and Cephallenia, and then moved to Naupactus. He captured this too 
and settled in it Messenian notables, just released by the Spartans at the 
end of the siege of Ithome, which happened at the same time. 80 

Since the Spartans had a fleet of at least sixteen ships in 480 (Hdt. 
viii. 43), they are likely to have had a formal fleet-base, presumably 
already at Gytheum (cf. Cic. de Off. m. 1 1 .49), at least as early as this. 81 We 

76 Diodorus (xi.74.6) expresses a Spartan refusal in even firmer terms. For Arthmius of Zelea 
who ‘brought the Median gold to the Peloponnese’, see p. 51 n. 55. 

77 If the Spartans did anything this year, besides sitting it out at Ithome, it will have been a raid 

against Argos, repelled at Oenoe with Athenian assistance. So Jeffery 1965 (1 81) 56-7, antedating 
Tolmides* expedition. But the battle of Oenoe is not easy to believe in; see Andrewes 1 97 5 (e \ ) 9- 1 6 
(the topography revised by Pritchett 1965-85 (aioo)iu 2-1 2, 46-50); Francis and Vickers 1985 (E27 
and 1 64). 78 This is an unparalleled and implausible proportion of hoplites to ships. 

79 Presumably Messenian Methone, as in Thuc. 11.25.1. Methana in the Argolid cannot be totally 
excluded and would give better geographical order, but there is more geographical confusion later. 

80 Most of Diodorus’ account is not paralleled elsewhere. Schol. Aeschin. 11.75 and Paus. 1.27.5 
add Boeae and Cythera to Tolmides’ achievements. No other source has Thucydides’ Chalcis, and 
only Pausanias picks up the battle at Sicyon. Only the burning of the Spartan dockyard is common 
to virtually all accounts. 

81 For Gytheum, see Str. vui.5.2, p. 365, Edgerton and Scoufopoulos 1972 (f 21). 

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I I 8 5. MAINLAND GREECE, 479-45 I B.C. 

have seen no particular reason to assume any Spartan naval activity in 
this war (the crossing of the Corinthian Gulf in 458 is unlikely to have 
involved naval vessels), but evidently Gytheum was thought a worth- 
while objective. It may have been thought, rightly or wrongly, that some 
Persian gold was going into an effort to repair the losses of Sparta’s allies 
in the Saronic Gulf. Any circumnavigation of the Peloponnese would 
involve landing somewhere in Laconia, and few Athenians are likely to 
have felt inhibitions about doing damage while they were there. 

Given that Tolmides’ fleet will have had to land from time to time, 
there is nothing implausible about the stops at Zacynthos and Cephalle- 
nia which Diodorus gives him. We may be more doubtful that they were 
actually won over in any permanent sense; we know next to nothing 
about either in this period. The remaining two stops in Thucydides are 
definitely hostile, the capture from Corinth of Chalcis in a useful position 
covering the approaches to the narrows of the Corinthian Gulf, 82 and the 
attack on Sicyon, which we now know to have been in the war from the 
first (above, p. 1 1 2). Simply because of Thucydides’ silence, there has 
been reluctance to believe Diodorus’ account that it was Tolmides who 
settled the Messenians in Naupactus; his view that he now captured it as 
well certainly runs against Thucydides. But one should not multiply 
Athenian incursions into the Gulf unnecessarily, and provisionally we 
should accept this occasion for the settlement. 83 

‘Provisionally’ in this case has more than its usual force. An inscrip- 
tion connected with the settlement has remained unpublished for more 
than twenty years. All we know of it 84 is that it lays down the 
arrangements under which the Messenians and the native Naupactians 
should live together under the protection of Athena Polias, no doubt 
representing her city; the continued existence of a Naupactian commun- 
ity, invisible in Thucydides, had already been deduced from M-L 74 (cf. 
SEG xix. 392). The Messenians of course also honoured Zeus of Ithome, 
whose suppliants they had been (Paus. iv.53.2). The wall-circuit was 
large, but even so the suburbs spread outside it (Thuc. m.102.2-4); at 
least once (ibid.) it was too large for the inhabitants to guard themselves. 
Before the capture of Pylos (p. 414) brought reinforcements, the largest 
Messenian hoplite force we hear of is 500 (Thuc. hi. 75.1); we can 
envisage a population of four or five thousand, dedicated to maintaining 
the Messenian name and available for a range of Athenian projects. They 
may not have been all that ready to settle down on the useful plain of 

82 Cf. Thuc. 11.82.3. At some time Athens captured another Corinthian foundation, Molycreum, 
closer still (Thuc. m.102.1). 

83 There is even reason to wonder whether Tolmides did something to secure the adhesion of 
Achaea, mentioned by no one; see below, p. 119. 

84 Mastrokostas 1964 (f 50) 295. 

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their new home. At least once we hear of them on a piratical expedition 
(Thuc. iv. 9.1). 85 

Athens now had a potentially firm grip on Corinth’s western gateway. 
We do not know whether she attempted to exercise it by putting a 
blockade squadron into Naupactus, as she did in the Archidamian War 
(P- 399 )- 

The next group of actions in mainland Greece which Thucydides 
describes (i.iii) all seem to belong to one campaigning season; it is 
uncertain whether it is 45 5 or 45 4. 86 First comes a Thessalian expedition, 
led, according to Diodorus (xi.83.3— 4), by Myronides. Diodorus says, 
plausibly enough, that the Athenians wished to punish the Thessalian 
behaviour at Tanagra (p. 114), but also alludes to the main motive in 
Thucydides. Here it is a Thessalian exile, Orestes, son of Echecratides, 
basileus of the Thessalians, whose request for reinstatement initiated the 
expedition. With Boeotian and Phocian troops the expedition moved 
against Pharsalus, but achieved nothing against the Thessalian cavalry. 
Orestes presumably came from Pharsalus and his exile is likely to be 
connected with the Thessalian change of sides at Tanagra; we can say 
little more. 87 

Not long after, Pericles took a thousand Athenian hoplites on a naval 
expedition in the Corinthian Gulf. This was not a circumnavigation of 
the Peloponnese, but started from Pegae in the Megarid. 88 The first 
target was again Sicyon; again there was a successful battle with no long- 
term results. 89 Pericles moved on to the west. The first stop was in 
Achaea. Thucydides’ language does not suggest that these were Athens’ 
first dealings with Achaea, certainly in her control in 446 (Thuc. 1. 1 1 5 . 1 , 
iv. 2 1. 3). Plutarch did not read him thus and no one gives Pericles credit 
for the acquisition; it should perhaps be added to Tolmides’ achieve- 
ments (see above, p. 1 1 8, n. 83). With Achaean help Pericles crossed the 
Gulf to Acarnania and unsuccessfully besieged Oeniadae, at the mouth 

85 Pausanias (iv.zj) has a long and involved story of how they almost at once captured the 
Acarnanian town of Oeniadae and held out there for more than a year. There are too many 
implausibilities in it to make it profitable to try to isolate a kernel of truth. Basically, it belongs to the 
patriotic literature of revived Messenia; cf. CAH iu 2 .$, 352 n. 44. 

86 See Chronological Notes, p. 501. 

87 The view of Morrison 1942 (f 34) 60-3, that Orestes and Echecratides were Aleuadae of 
Larissa and that Pharsalus was attacked not for itself, but because it was the key to Thessaly, depends 
on an interpretation of Theocr. xvi.34 which I do not find compelling. 

88 The ships had perhaps been left by Tolmides (Anderson 1954 (f i a) 81). Thucydides gives no 
number. There are a hundred in Plut. Per. 19.2-3, fifty in Diod. xi.85 (Diodorus describes the 
expedition twice; xi.88.1— 2 is a better version). 

89 In Diod. xi. 88. 2 the Spartans send help to Sicyon. Plutarch makes much more of the Sicyon 
episode, and says that Pericles penetrated far inland and that the battle was at Nemea. He or his 
source has probably confused the sanctuary of Nemea with the river of that name, but see Lewis 
1981 (e 41) 78. 

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5. MAINLAND GREECE, 479— 45 I B.C. 

of the Achelous; 90 we may guess that it had some affinities with 
Corinth. 91 Further operations in mainland Greece were curtailed by bad 
news from Egypt (p. 5 2). A pause in Thucydides’ account is marked by a 
brief sentence (1. 1 1 2. 1): ‘later, after a gap of three years, a five-year truce 
was made with the Peloponnesians’, perhaps in winter 45 i/o. 92 

The preoccupations of Athens during these three years have been 
discussed in chapter 3 (pp. 54—60). Here it is only relevant to remark that, 
if the Peloponnesians made any serious attempt to profit by Athenian 
weakness or reverse any of Athens’ gains, it has left no mark on the 
record, and that there is no reason to assume that Athens made any 
territorial concessions in the Five Years’ Truce. The picture seems to be 
one of Corinthian exhaustion and Spartan quietism. Those who hold 
Sparta to be fully committed to the war can explain her inaction by the 
impossibility of passing the Megarid. 93 Those who hold that she had 
never been enthusiastic 94 can more easily contemplate the possibility that 
Sparta was unwilling to profit by Athenian lack of success against Persia; 
the spirit of 480-479 could still be invoked. 95 If it were argued at the time 
of the making of the truce that Athens must have her hands free for the 
Persian War, the argument would sit well in the mouth of Sparta’s old 
friend Cimon, surely back from ostracism by 4 5 1 , if not earlier (above, p. 
75). That Cimon made the truce is stated by Diodorus (xi.86. 1) and could 
be read into a confused passage of Andocides (111.3); as we have seen (p. 

1 1 5), it is hard to disentangle this truce from one made after Tanagra. 

A more permanent arrangement was a Thirty Years’ Truce between 
Sparta and Argos (Thuc. v.14.4, 22.2, 28.2), probably made in 45 1. 96 We 
have heard nothing of Argos or indeed anything beyond the coast of the 
Peloponnese since the battle of Tanagra, 97 and have little evidence to 
elucidate Argive preoccupations. What we do have is remarkable, a text 
from the middle of the century (M— L 42; see also SEG xxx.3 54) in which 
a federal structure appears to link Argos with at least two states in Crete 
and in which physical intervention by Argos in Crete is thought possible. 
It is not inappropriate to end this chapter with such a reminder of the 
extent of our ignorance, once we leave the main line of Thucydides’ 

90 Diodorus’ inferior version makes him win over all the Acatnanians except Oeniadae; that is in 
direct conflict with Thuc. 11.68.8. The attitude of Oeniadae to Athens is distinguished from that of 
the rest of Acarnaniaat Thuc. 11. 102.2, but its hostility may only start now. For Paus. iv.25 seen. 85. 

91 Grundy 191 1 (c 39) 347-54; Lewis 198 1 (e 41) 77. 

92 Argument about the date turns on whether the Spartans broke the Truce in 446, and certainty 
is impossible; see e.g. Gomme, HCT 1413. Good judges have thought it possible that there was a 
dislocation in Thucydides’ text and that the T ruce came before the three blank years (Gomme, HCT 
1 325, Bengtson 1977 (a 4) 212), but such procedure is very dangerous. 

93 de Ste Croix 1972 (g 36) 187-95. 94 See note 60. 95 Lewis 1977 (a 76) 62—3. 

96 It has not quite run out in summer 421 (Thuc. v.28.2). No other states are mentioned, and it is 
hardly clear whether any of Sparta’s allies were involved. 97 But see p. 1190. 89. 

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Thucydides’ account of the Fifty Years contains no statement of any 
kind about a cessation of hostilities between Athens and Persia. That is, 
by any standards, a serious omission of a matter directly relevant to the 
development of the empire (cf. Thuc. m.10.4): it is the nature and 
completeness of his excursus which should be questioned rather than the 
fact that the Persian War came to an end. It is clear that Athens abstained 
from further offensive action against Persia after Cimon’s last expedi- 
tion. Nothing in Book 1 of Thucydides suggests that Athens was known 
to be in a state of war with Persia in the 430s, and in the early years of the 
Peloponnesian War Athens appears to be feeling for Persian help 
without any suggestion that peace itself was an issue. 1 

The only sources which fill the gap with any clarity are derived from 
Ephorus. Of these, Aristodemus 1; may be safely neglected. In Diodo- 
rus (xn.4) the King is moved by the defeats in Cyprus to desire peace. A 
mission to Athens from the Persian commanders is followed by an 
Athenian embassy headed by Callias son of Hipponicus and by a 
settlement. The terms reported are that all the Greek cities of Asia should 
be autonomous, that the Persian satraps should not come within three 
days’ journey of the sea, that no long ships should come beyond Phaselis 
and the Blue Rocks, 2 and that the Athenians should not attack the King’s 
territory ( chora ). 3 

It is not clear in Diodorus where Callias went: he could certainly be 
read as if the mission went no further than Cyprus. But Herodotus 
(vii.i 5 1) speaks of an Argive embassy to Artaxerxes in Susa as coincid- 
ing with the Athenian embassy under Callias which was there on other 
business ( erepov nprjypiaTOS eiveKa); his language suggests that Callias’ 

1 Thuc. 11. 7. 1, Ar. Ach. 61-125; Meyer 1899 (a 87) 71-2, 77. 

2 These are just inside the Black Sea. See, against Wade-Gery 1958 (a 121) 213—14, Oliver 1957 (e 

, 8 ). 

3 The attempt of Meister 1982 (e 54) 29-31 to show that Ephorus, working from a tradition 
which had these events in the 460s, had wrongly transposed them, is unconvincing. 

I 21 

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mission would be well known to his readers. 4 We should therefore 
accept that the negotiations took place in Susa. 

Herodotus expresses himself indirectly. Thucydides has failed to 
recount the negotiations in their place; he is similarly silent about the 
renewal of the Peace with Darius 11 , now virtually certain (see p. 422), 
and viii. 5 6.4, a passage which strongly implies a previous limitation on 
the King’s movements by sea, 5 is the nearest he gets to referring to a 
definite arrangement. We are therefore faced with an absence of direct 
contemporary evidence, and the silence is not fully broken until 380. In 
that year, Isocrates (iv. 1 20) makes an unfavourable comparison between 
the King’s Peace negotiated by Sparta in 387/6 and the Peace which the 
Athenians had made: 

One may see the greatness of the change most clearly, if one were to read out and 
compare [one word, napavayvoiT)] the treaty of our time and those now 
inscribed. It will appear that then it was we who were defining the border of the 
King’s empire, assessing some of his tributes and preventing him from using the 
sea. But now it is he who governs Greek affairs and gives orders as to what each 
shall do, and is practically establishing billeting officers in the cities. 

Thereafter, there is a flood of similar passages 6 in which the comparison 
with the King’s Peace is stated or implied, which vary in the terms which 
they report. These all come from Athenian orators; we have already seen 
what the Athenocentric Ephorus said. 

By the third quarter of the fourth century this Athenian propaganda 
was provoking a reaction. Some unknown muddler may have said (Plut. 
Cim. 13.4) that it was the battle of Eurymedon which had forced the 
King to make peace; Callisthenes {ibid.) said that the King’s acceptance 
of territorial limits was purely de facto, through fear. As we have seen, 
Isocrates implies the existence of a written text in 380. Theopompus 
{FGrH 1 1 5 f 1 54) knew such a stela, but said it was a forgery, since it was 
in the Ionic letters introduced officially in 403/2; it is unfortunately 
unclear whether he was denouncing a treaty with Artaxerxes or that with 
Darius II. 7 

These remained minority views, and Plutarch {Cim. 14.5) treats the 
fact that Craterus, at the end of the fourth century, included a text of the 
Peace in his collection of decrees as conclusive. But no topic in fifth- 

4 It has been argued again recently (Walsh 1981 (e 88); Meister 1982 (e 54) 22—4; even more 
vigorously Badian 1987 (e 3) 2) that these missions should be dated shortly after Artaxerxes’ 
accession in 465/4; it is not explained why the Argi ves should then be worried that Artaxerxes might 
think them enemies, which makes good sense in 450/49 after they had been allied to Athens for a 
decade (Meyer 1899 (a 87) 75). 5 Andrewes, HCT v 134-5. 

6 Bengtson 1 962 (a 3) 64—9 is the most convenient collection; add Theopompus FGrH 1 i 5 F 1 5 3 
{ibid. pp. 29-30). 

7 Wade-Gery 1958 (a 121) 205—7; Connor 1968 (c 21) 77-87; as it happens, M— L 6i~IG i 3 402 
provides an Athenian official text of imperial interest in Ionic letters as early as 432. 

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century history has provoked more continuous debate. The silence of 
Herodotus and Thucydides, the variety of the reported terms, 8 the 
alleged belief of the unknown source of Plut. Per. 12.3 that war was 
continuing at the time of the debate on the Acropolis buildings have all 
been pressed into repeated attempts to demonstrate that the Peace was 
not authentic. Most recently, the wrong dating of Hdt. vn.i 5 1 and the 
implications of Plut. Cim. 1 3.4 have been used to shift the argument to 
the 460s, either along the lines that the Peace genuinely belonged after 
Eurymedon but was short-lived 9 or that the tradition put it after 
Eurymedon but was false. 10 Even these views are not totally new, and on 
all the topics so far discussed I find myself in total agreement with 
Eduard Meyer’s defence of the Peace in 1 899. 11 To fuss about the details 
involves the dangers of losing sight of the main fact. The war did come 
to an end. 

But there is now much factual detail not available to Meyer which 
needs to be explored. First, there is the evidence of the quota-lists 
(Fig. 3). 12 The fifth list (its number is preserved: A TL 1 and 11 List 5 = IG 
i 3 263), the first of a new assessment period, reflects the collection of 
spring 449. The maximum number of entries is 188 names in 199 lines, 
but there are some double entries and more two-line names than usual; 
the true figure will be approximately 163. 13 This represents a rise of 
about 14 names over the average for the first assessment period, and it is 
likely that most of the 21 to 23 names attested in it for the first time are in 
fact appearing for the first time: the most important are Acanthus, 
Erythrae, Hestiaea, Iasus, Cythnus, Paros, Siphnos, Tenos, possibly 
Naxos, Eretria, and Chalcis; by contrast, 28 states disappear for a time 
after the first assessment period, though some of them will still be 
paying, through larger units. Whatever the explanation for the earlier 
absences (see pp. 5 6-9), the problem has now been settled. After this list, 
it is more difficult to see clearly. If we make the universal assumption that 
the list at the top of the reverse of the first stela was labelled the ninth 
list 14 and reflects the collection of spring 445, we only have two lists 
(ATL 1 and n Lists 7—8 =IG i 3 264-5, henceforth A and B) to cover the 
collections of 448, 447 and 446. 15 There can be no doubt that A and B 
belong to consecutive years; they are linked by close similarities of order 
and by payments in B complementary to shortfalls in A. The difficulty is 

8 On these see Thompson 1981 (e 85). 9 Walsh 1981 (e 88). 

10 Meister 1982 (e 54). 11 Meyer 1899 (a 87) 71-82. 

12 For fuller discussion, see M-L 50, Meiggs 1972 (e 53) 153-4, 599. 

13 ATL hi 30-1. 

14 IG i 3 266; it is not certain whether ‘ninth’ should actually be read (Lewis 1954 (c 138) 25-9; 
McGregor 1962 (c 140) 267-75). 

,s The attempt of Pritchett 1964, 1966, 1967 (c 158-160) to find space for the eighth list on the 
back of a lost block attached to the top of the stela has been disproved by a new fragment of the top, 
Meritt 1972 (c 150) 403-5. 

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Obv«rs« Right lateral 

List 1 

3 line heading . six columns of names, 
each of 25 lines 

List / 

list 2 

1 line heading ; seven columns of nones, 
each of 18 lines 

List 2 

three columns 
of names 

List 3 

1 line heading ; five columns of names , 
each of 30 lines 

List B 

3 tine heading; 
two columns 
of names; each 
of no lines 

List 4 

1 line heading ; five columns of names, 
each of 32 lines 

List 5 

1 line heading ; five colunvs of names, 
each of 40 lines 

List A 

) line headiry ; five columns of names, 
each approximately 38 lines 



Fig. 3. Layout of Athenian tribute-list stela I. 

to know whether they are the lists of 448 and 447 or of 447 and 446. If 
they are the lists of 447 and 446, there is no possibility that the stela 
explained the gap for 448. 16 If the missing year was 448, there is a strong 
temptation to relate this to the Peace of Callias; it has for example been 
held that there is no list because tribute was in theory only payable while 
war with the barbarian was in progress. 17 If, on the other hand, A and B 
belong to 448 and 447, the range of possibilities is slightly increased, 
because there is space unaccounted for above the ninth list. There could 
have been an explanation of the absent list of 446; there might have been 
a very short quota-list, reflecting widespread withholding of tribute after 

16 Though uncertainty may have been shown by the omission of the numeral in the heading of A. 

17 Support for this has been sought in Thuc. 1.96.1; see Wade-Gery 1958 (a 121) 227; Wade-Gery 
1945 (e 87); ATL hi 230-1, 277-9, but see de Ste Croix 1972 (g 36) 3 i x — 1 2; the view that there was 
no record of quotas in 448 because the whole tribute was allocated, e.g. for a temple to Athena Nike 
(M— L p. 135, Meiggs 1972 (e 5 3), 154), seems less probable. 

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I2 5 

the battle of Coronea (p. 1 3 3); it has even been held that Athens, in that 
crisis, gave up her claim for the year. 18 

Interpretation about what is going on inside Lists A and B themselves 
can be deferred (p. 129). At a minimum there seems to be some 
considerable dislocation of the system of receiving and recording tribute 
in these years, which are likely to be years of crisis. I prefer the solution 
by which no tribute was paid or payable in 448 and in which attempts to 
restart collection in 447 were not well received, but clearer evidence 
would be welcome. 

Certain aspects of the start of the Periclean building programme are 
clearer and relevant. 19 It is quite certain that the first year of the published 
accounts of the building of the Parthenon was 447/6 ( IG i 3 436; the date 
deduced from IG i 3 449); some preliminary discussion will have taken 
place. The building programme can be seen in various aspects (see p. 
139). One aspect was certainly that of a group of dedications ( avaOr ) - 
Tiara) to the gods for the achievements which were past (Dem. 
xxii. 76 = xxiv. 184; Plut. Per. 12.1); it will not be irrelevant that part of 
the decoration of the Parthenon involved contests of Lapiths and 
Centaurs, Greeks and Ama2ons, Gods and Giants, all symbols of a 
triumph of civilization over barbarism. 20 It seems hard to believe that the 
Parthenon did not have something of the nature of a victory dedication 
from the first. 21 

Thought will have been given to the cost of such a programme. The 
hardest figure we possess for the ultimate cost is that for the gold and 
ivory cult statue designed by Phidias, between 700 and 1,000 talents (M— 
L 5 4B = IG i 3 460). Some very high figures used to be believed, resting on 
a reference to ‘thousand-talent temples’ in Plut. Per. 12.2, and a figure of 
2,000 talents for the Propylaea (Harp. s.v. nponvXaia raura 22 ); compara- 
tive study of better documented building operations 23 seems to show 
that these figures are much too high. The most likely interpretation of a 
text of 433 (M— L 5 8 A. 3— 4 = IG i 3 52) seems to be that at some earlier 
stage a decision had been taken to fund expenditure of 3,000 talents and 
then think again. 24 

18 Accame 1938 (c 1 1 3) 41 3. 

19 No attempt is made here to use the evidence of Plut. Per. 1 7 on the summoning of a panhellenic 

congress to discuss the rebuilding of temples destroyed by the Persians; see Seager 1969 (e 81); 
Bosworth 1971 (e 11); Walsh 1981 (e 88). 20 See pp. 177, 215-17. 

21 The point is made even more clearly for those who believe that a temple to Athena Nike 
(Victory) was planned in the early 440s (M-L 44 = /G 1* 35), but the dating of the text rests on 
epigraphical considerations which not all accept (see Mattingly 1982 (1 108) 381-5, but scepticism is 
made more difficult by Tracy 1984 (c 169) 281-2). 

22 For the text, see Keaney 1968 (1 87). *3 Stanier 1953 (1 157). 

24 The view of ATL in 326-8 (cf. Wade-Gery and Meritt 1957 (d 103) 182-8) by which fifteen 
annual payments of precisely 200 talents were planned is over-elaborate (see M-L p. 159); it seems 
simpler to suppose that the hellenotamiai were to turn over their annual surpluses until the target 
figure was reached. 

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There is a further point of interest in the building accounts. Earlier 
accounts, certainly for the bronze statue of Athena Promachus ( IG i 3 
435), show the source of the funds as the kolakretai, Athens’ civic 
treasurers. By contrast, the main source of the funds for the Parthenon, 
the chryselephantine statue and the Propylaea, is always the Treasurers 
of Athena: the kolakretai do not appear; the hellenotamiai only seem to 
contribute that which is properly Athena’s, the quota of one-sixtieth of 
the tribute. In 440 (M— L 56 = IG r 3 363) we find the Treasurers of Athena 
paying the costs of suppressing the Samian revolt. It appears to follow 
that the hellenotamiai now have no reserve, that the League reserves 
transferred from Delos were given to the Treasurers of Athena, and that 
the basic contention of Pericles’ critics in Plut. Per. 1 2, that the building 
programme was financed by the money contributed by the allies, was 
correct. 25 The merging must have taken place before 447/6. 26 

It may now be clearer why this chapter has shown so little patience 
with the conventional criticisms of the Peace of Callias. The League 
treasury has been appropriated; a building programme, showing strong 
signs of being a victory dedication and perhaps expected to cost 3,000 
talents, has been started. The only conclusion which can be drawn is that 
the Athenians were confident before starting work on the Parthenon that 
the Persian War was over, by mutual consent. Beside this conclusion, the 
details are relatively unimportant. We can have no sure view as to 
whether the King was forced to the indignity of oath-taking; we cannot 
be sure how authentic was the text which Isocrates could read and which 
Theopompus disbelieved. 27 It may be the case that no great parade was 
made of the details; Demosthenes even asserted in 343 (xix.273) that 
Callias had been fined 50 talents for taking bribes in his embassy, and the 
abandonment of Cyprus at least will have been a bitter pill to swallow. 
Only after the King’s Peace would the achievement really be proclaimed, 
at a time when Athens had little else to be proud of. 

Some terms of the agreement can perhaps be deduced from the history 
of the following years. The King does not seem to have renounced his 
claim to the tribute of Ionia. 28 There is some reason to believe that the 

25 Despite the scepticism of Gomme 1953/4 (g 15) 16—17 and HCT 11 31-2, this contention 
(Stevenson 1924 (d 91); ATL in 337) appears to be sound. 

26 A papyrus scholiast on Demosthenes appears to date the decision, on Pericles’ motion, to 450/ 
49, and is the basis of the financial scheme worked out by ATLand Meritt and Wade-Gery 195 7 (see 
n. 24). Accepting it produces grave chronological problems: see below. 

27 In Thuc. vni. 5 8. 1 an agreement is made for the King, and he does not swear it himself. That it 
could be asserted that Artaxerxes II had sworn the King’s Peace (Tod, CHJ 1 18. 10-1 1) perhaps does 
not make it true; see Badian 1987 (e 3) 27. The second part of that article and Holladay 1986 (e 36) 
represent a welcome willingness to accept informality, though I have reservations about both. 

25 See Thuc. vni. 5.5,6.! and Murray 1 966 (a 93). For Isocrates’ claim that the Athenians were to 
assess someofhis tributes, see Wade-Gery 1958 (a 121) 21 1— 1 3; ATL m 275;Cook 1961 (f 18) 16- 
17; Murray, op. cit. 1 5 5—6. 

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cities of Ionia were to be deprived of fortifications, 29 perhaps some that 
Athens gave up her right to establish settlements or colonies there. 30 
That the restrictions on naval movements existed in some form seems to 
follow- from Thuc. vm.56.6; the restrictions on military movement by 
land are more mysterious. 31 It is not to be expected that the arrangements 
would be honoured at all levels; we shall find at least one satrap engaged 
in subversion from time to time (pp. 143, 398). 

There can be no certainty about the chronology. It is hard to believe 
that the Peace was known when tribute was paid in spring 449 (p. 123). If 
we omit Plutarch’s Panhellenic Congress, 32 it might just be possible for 
Callias to return and for the decision to be taken about the financing of 
the building programme before the end of the archon-year 4 5 0/49, as the 
papyrus commentary on Demosthenes 33 requires, but not all will think 
this source worthy of such respect. 34 


In the years immediately following the Cyprus expedition, Thucydides 
reports only one pair of events, a Spartan expedition to Delphi, which 
entrusted the shrine to the Delphians, followed by an Athenian counter- 
expedition handing it over to the Phocians. 35 This would be in line with 
the Athenian alliance with Phocis (p. 115), and Sparta, which had an 
Amphictyonic vote, seems to be making an anti-Athenian move while 
debarred from direct action against Athens by the Five Years’ Truce. 36 

It seems that much else was going on to occupy Athens. If the events 
of the late 450s had created an empire, techniques of control had to be 
created. We have tentatively argued that 449 saw the conclusion of an 
arrangement with Persia and the merging of the League treasury with 
that of Athena. Plutarch (Per. 1 1.5), in the general context of Pericles’ 
provision for the demos, speaks of his cleruchies, 1 ,000 settlers to the 
Chersonese, 500 to Naxos, 1 50 to Andros, 1,000 to Thrace ‘to live with 
the Bisaltae’, others to the foundation of Thurii. Later ( 1 9. 1 ) he gives 
more detail about the Chersonese, Pericles’ most admired expedition. 

29 Wade-Gery 1958 (a 121) 219—20; Lewis 1977 (a 76) 153; contra Meiggs 1972 (e 53) 149-51, 
Brunt 1966 (e 13) 92 n. 54, Cawkwell 1973 (e 14) 54 n. 3. 

30 It has, however, been argued that there is evidence for colonies at both Erythraeand Colophon 

after the Peace; see ATL hi 282-4; Meiggs 1972 (e 5 3) 162—3; Bradeen and McGregor 1973 (c 121) 
98-9. 31 Wade-Gery 1958 (a 121) 215-19; Andrewes 1961 (g 5) 16-18. 

32 See p. 125 n. 19. 33 See p. 126 n. 26. 34 See Chronological Notes, pp. 501—2. 

35 Thuc. 1. 1 12.5; more details in Plut. Per. 21.2—3, where the Phocians have Delphi in the first 
place, Schoi. Ar. Birds. 5 56, where Philochorus ( FGrH 328 f 34) is said to have dated the Athenian 
expedition in the third year after the Spartan one; in view of Thucydides’ language, ‘year’ has often 
been emended to ‘month’; Hdt. 1. j 1.3-4 and Plut. De mal. Hdf. 8 5 9d may be relevant (see p. 100). 

36 For the Spartan vote, see Roux 1979 (f 60) 4-9, who also (44-6, 239-40) discusses the 
relationship of IG i 3 9 to these events; see also Sordi 1958 (p 66); Zeilhofer 1959 (f 73) 45-50. 

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The Chersonese had been subject to a prolonged period of Thracian 
raids, and Pericles not only strengthened the cities’ population with his 
thousand Athenian settlers, but fortified the isthmus from sea to sea. For 
these events, the quota-lists provide some clarification and dating, since, 
as shown above (p. 60), reductions in tribute can provide valuable clues. 
To start with the Chersonese, in 453, 452 and 451, the main unit is the 
Cherronesitai, paying 18 talents, though Alopeconnesus also seems to 
have been named in 451. For 450 we have no evidence. In 449 the 
Cherronesitai pay 13 talents, 4,840 drachmae, Alopeconnesus 3,240 
drachmae. In 446 (on the dating adopted here) the Cherronesitai are 
joined at least by the Limnaei and Elaeus, and after 445 we can see fairly 
regularly that the peninsula is divided into six paying units, never paying 
more than 2 talents, 2,500 drachmae in all before the outbreak of the 
Peloponnesian War. It is a reasonable inference that Pericles’ campaign 
and resettlement belongs to 447. This is also the most likely year for the 
casualty list M— L 48, in which 28 Athenians, including the general 
Epiteles, died in the Chersonese, 1 2 at Byzantium, 19 in ‘the other wars’, 
with an epigram on those who died by the Hellespont. That the sharp 
reduction in tribute is due entirely to the settlement of Athenian citizens 
cannot be affirmed; there may have been a more careful assessment of the 
area’s resources and an allowance for services which we cannot 
identify. 37 

On the evidence of reduced tribute, Plutarch’s cleruchy to Naxos 
should be before spring 447, since her tribute does not vary thereafter, 
and the cleruchy to Andros precisely between spring 450, when she pays 
1 2 talents, and spring 449, when she pays 6. More complex problems are 
raised by Lemnos. Settled by Athenians before the foundation of the 
League, 38 she is found paying 9 talents in 451. By 446, the tribute is 
entered to two states, Hephaestia and Myrina, and the total of the two 
never exceeds 4 \ talents. Though there is no direct evidence (Thuc. 
vn. 5 7.2 and Paus. 1.28.2 may be relevant), it has been held 39 that the 
settlement was reinforced, possibly in 450, by new settlers from Athens 
and that the tribute was reduced to compensate. It does not seem a 
sensible solution to create a community composed entirely of Athenians, 
some of whom were liable to tribute and some not, and our understand- 
ing of the position remains unclear. 

It has been held that the Athenians drew a rigid distinction between a 
colony (anoLKia), which became a new state, and a cleruchy, which did 
not. This seems unlikely, since there are variations in terminology in the 
texts which cannot be explained away, and fluidity in nomenclature and 
in practice, for example, in what legal cases went to Athens, is to be 

37 S eeATL hi 45—6; Kahrstedt 1954 (f 39) 15—23; Brunt 1966 (e 13) 79; Meiggs 1972 (e 53) 160. 

38 See CAH iv 2 298-9. 

39 ATL in 290-4; Ehrenberg 1952 (e 21) 146—9= 1965 (a 32) 250-3; Brunt 1966 (e i 3) 80—1. 

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expected. 40 It is from a text about an apoikia, Brea, that we get our most 
detailed information of what went on at a settlement (M-L 49 = IG i 3 46; 
IG i 3 47 is a similar text). The colony is to set out within thirty days of the 
passing of the decree. There will be a founder and a board of ten to 
distribute the land, except that already held by gods. The religious duties 
of the colonists to Athens are prescribed, and defence by their neigh- 
bours is arranged. Those currently away from Athens on an expedition 
can join if they arrive in Brea within thirty days of their return. There 
seems to be some discussion of qualification for joining on the basis of 
the Solonian property classes; it is unclear whether the aim is to provide 
for poor £ eugitai as well as thetes or to block the possibility of richer 
absentee landlords. 41 

We have already spoken of the confused picture provided by the lists 
of 447 and 446 (or 448 and 447). The list of 447 is well preserved, but 
below average in terms of number of names. At Jeast ten states made 
short payments, and it is particularly attractive to link a confused pattern 
at Byzantium with the casualties there. A case can be made for saying that 
partial payments and absences are more frequent in the Hellespont than 
elsewhere, which fits the epigram on M-L 48. Eight states seem to have 
paid late, including three substantial island payers, Cythnus, Carystus 
and Ceos, and, above all, Mende (including Scione) with its 1 5 talents. 
The influence of Potidaea, the Corinthian colony absent from all lists 
until after the Thirty Years’ Peace, is to be suspected. 42 

The greater part of the list for the next year ( A TL 1 and 11 List 8 = IG 
i 3 26 5 ) follows the order of its predecessor very closely indeed, but it also 
has a substantial appendix, which seems to have recorded back payments 
and supplementary payments from the previous year as well as supple- 
mentary payments for the current year. Three entries, very abnormally, 
record payments in the field, one, from Abdera, at Ei'on, two at Tenedos. 
These were presumably Athenian bases of the year. It has been held 43 
that payment in the field was more widely spread and that many of the 
partial payments and absences of this year really represent such pay- 
ments, belatedly reported to Athens. However, such a pattern would in 
itself suggest extensive military operations, and a simpler view is to be 
preferred. 44 Athens was attempting to reimpose the payment of tribute 
after a year’s gap and met with considerable resistance, eventually 

40 ATL hi 284—6 argue for a rigid distinction, but see Ehrenberg 195 2 (e 21)= 1965 (a 32) 245- 
5 3; Brunt 1966 (e 13). 

41 The name Brea seems to be Celtic for a settlement. The colony was mentioned in literature 
(Steph. Byz. s.v.; Cratinus f 426 K— A), but, beyond the fact that it was in the Thracian area, its 
situation is uncertain. Letter-forms place the text in the 440s, and it may have been the settlement 
among the Bisaltai mentioned by Plutarch and abandoned after the foundation of Amphipolis; M— L 
pp. 1 3 2f; Meiggs 1972 (e 53) 158-9; but see Asheri 1969 (e 2). 

42 Reasonable doubts are also possible about the presence of Miletus, Colophon and Aegina. 

43 A TL hi 59-60. 

44 Wade-Gery 1945 (e 87) 226-8; Meiggs 1963 (e 52) 16-18; M-L p. 1 3 5; Meiggs 1972 (e 5 3) 1 56. 

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quelled. By the time the books were closed for 446, the number of 
defaulters was much reduced. Precision about the continuing absentees 
is impossible: there may still be trouble in the Hellespont and the 
Thraceward area, and there is no evidence that Aegina, which had made 
a short payment in 449, had resumed payment. 45 

It is tempting to link the tighter collection of the second list with a 
preserved decree which lays down the procedure for the despatch of 
tribute in some detail (M— L 4 G = IG i 3 34). Its proposer was called 
Cleinias, and this could be the father of the great Alcibiades, killed at 
Coronea in spring 446. The identification would provide a firm terminus 
ante quern , but the decree has no clear early letter-forms, and difficulty has 
been found in a casual reference which puts on the same footing as 
offences about tribute offences concerning the despatch of ‘the cow and 
the panoply’; it is argued that this became a universal obligation only in 
425 (see p. 421); debate about the date is likely to continue. 46 The 
substantial point which turns on it is the spread of Athenian officials in 
the empire, since the opening clause seems to imply that ‘the magistrates 
in the cities’, who may be, but are not necessarily, Athenians, and the 
‘supervisors’ ( krtiaKo-noi ), who are, are fairly widespread. On the 
orthodox dating of the Miletus Decree (above, p. 5 8), we have already 
seen such a board in action. 

Athenian magistrates appear, even less equivocally, in a decree which 
is even more controversial in its dating (M-L 45). We have fragments of 
six copies of a decree ordering the use of Athenian coinage, weights and 
measures and forbidding the coinage of silver by allied cities. The decree 
itself provides for its exhibition in the Agora of each city, and this will be 
done by the Athenians if the city does not. This seems to have happened 
at Cos, where a copy has been found in Attic lettering and dialect. If it 
had been found at Athens, it would certainly have been dated to the early 
440s, and many would prefer to date the decree then; before the Cos 
fragment was found, it was assumed that the decree did not long precede 
a parody of it in 414 (Ar. Birds 1040-1). Prolonged study of the decree 
itself and of the coinages which it should have affected has led to no 
agreed result. 47 

45 The fragmentary decree IG i 3 38 may reflect trouble with Aegina. That the patchy record in 
Thrace, particularly at Argilus, is connected in some way with the colony at Brea (p. 129) is a 
plausible speculation. 

46 Besides M—L 46 and the literature cited there, see Mattingly 1970 (c 143) 1 29-33; Meiggs 1972 
(e 5 3) 166-7; Schuller 1974 (e 78) 21 2—1 3. 

47 For the coinages see Robinson 1949 (e 71); Barron 1966 (c 181) 50-93; Erxleben 1970 (e 22) 
66—132; Carradice, ed. 1987 (a i6). It now looks as if coinage in northern Tfreece was uninterrupted 
until the Chalcidic revolt or the arrival of Brasidas. A surprising deviation by Chios into electrum 
coinage (Barron 1966 (c 181) 86—7 and 1986 (e 9) 96-7) is at present counter-balancing evidence for 
an early date for the decree, but N. M. Hardwick tells me that he has a different view of the relation of 
this electrum issue to the Chiote silver. For recent general treatments of the dating problem, see 
Schuller 1974 (e 78) 21 1 — r 7; Lewis 1987 (e 42); Mattingly 1987 (e 50). 

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To forbid the allies to coin their own silver is clearly a political act of a 
fairly demonstrative nature. 48 Insistence on the use of Athenian coinage 
is scarcely less so, but administrative convenience will also have been 
relevant. The growth of Athenian power produced inter-state monetary 
transactions on a scale hitherto quite unknown in the Greek world. The 
advantages of a uniform system of exchange in these transactions will 
have been obvious. 49 Electrum was accepted as tribute in 45 3 ( IG i 3 259 
postscript 10— 1 3), and there may have been later payments in it, 50 but the 
74 Lampsacene staters and 27^ Cy2icene staters which were acquired by 
the Parthenon commissioners in 447 remained unused throughout their 
accounts. Life would be much easier for Athenian financial officials and 
commanders if they were working with one coinage only, and it has been 
plausibly suggested 51 that the Athenians recoined the whole contents of 
the Delian League treasury when they took it over. Similar arguments 
will apply to the weights and measures, rather neglected in modern 
scholarship. Whether Athens was making special concessions to indivi- 
dual states about the amount of corn they would be allowed to import 
from the Black Sea (M-L 65 = IG i 3 61.34-6, IG i 3 62) or acquiring 
provisions, an agreed standard would be helpful. 52 We need not imagine 
any intention of creating a common market or of interfering extensively 
in private transactions. This line of thinking supports an early date for 
the decree; by 418 the Treasurers of Athena are disbursing electrum 
(M-L 77 = IG 1 3 370. 14-1 5)- 

Thucydides (1.77. 1) presents an Athenian embassy at Sparta in 432 
defending itself against criticisms of Athenian conduct in legal matters, 
and a war-time author ([Xen.] Atb.Pol. 1.16) says that the Athenians are 
blamed for forcing the allies to sail to Athens for lawsuits. The 
complications of what may have happened in commercial cases lie 
beyond our present scope; 53 it is doubtful whether Athenian provisions 
here should be thought of as instruments of empire, except in so far as the 
right to proceed in particular courts is included among the privileges 
given to particular foreigners. More straightforwardly, we have refer- 
ences (M— L 5 2 = IG i 3 40.71-6, cf. IG i 3 96.6-8) in which cases involving 
particular penalties, death, confiscation of property, loss of citizen 
rights, exile, seem to be transferred to Athens; one literary reference 
from war-time (Antiphon v.47) casually asserts that no city can inflict the 

48 Finley 1965 (a 41) 22—4, and 1973 (l 39) 168-9. 

49 Parallel difficulties will readily occur to the reader. I have in mind the elaborate testing of 
grades of silver at Persepolis (Cameron 1948 (a 14) 200—3) and the difficulties which the fourth- 
century administrators of the rebuilding of the Delphic temple got into with exchange rates (CID 11, 
62, ha. 5-13; see Bousquet 1985 (c 118). 

50 See Eddy 1 97 3 (e i 9), arguing that such payments seem to be confined to the periods before 446 
and after 430 and suggesting that this is the effective period of the Coinage Decree. 

51 Starr 1970 (c 197) 64—72, important for the whole question. 

52 An excellent treatment along these lines in Martin 1985 (c 194) 196-207; sec also Lewis 1987 (e 

42). 53 de Ste Croix 1961 (e 76) 95-1 12; Gauthier 1972 (l 57) 1 57-65. 

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1 3 2 


death penalty without Athenian consent. These restrictions seem to 
come in during our present period; in the first reference, of 446/5 , Chalcis 
is told that she can conduct her own legal procedures, except in cases 
involving exile, death and loss of citi2en rights; these are to be 
transferred to Athens ‘according to the decree of the demos’, and it is 
easier to think that this is a general decree which has already been made 
for all the cities rather than a decree particular to Chalcis. 54 

This is not a simple assertion of dominance. Except in the rare cases 
where an entire population was expelled, Athens managed to control her 
subjects through her sympathizers. Identified with the ruling power, 
they would need all the protection they could get. As it happens, we have 
no fifth-century evidence for the violence sometimes visible in the milder 
atmosphere of the fourth-century confederacy, 55 but we cannot doubt 
that some occurred. From about 450 we find Athenian decrees for 
foreigners providing that, if they get killed, the punishment will be the 
same as if an Athenian gets killed; more precise texts suggest that the city 
in which the event occurred was liable to a fine of 5 talents. 56 More subtle 
action could be undertaken through the courts in the cities, 57 and the 
most effective protection which Athens could offer her friends was to 
limit the penalties which could be inflicted on them there. 58 She could 
not contemplate a situation in which a squadron might arrive at a town 
and enquire for the Athenian proxenos, only to learn that he had been 
executed the previous week for, say, impiety. 

For us, these developments can only be dimly seen. We are fleshing the 
bare, chaotic figures of the tribute quota-lists with inference from the 
institutions which we see developing. As Athens moved to consolidate 
her control in the changed circumstances after the end of the Persian 
War, there will have been recalcitrance, more or less severe. In 447 
thirty-one Athenians died, at Byzantium and in the ‘other wars’ (M— L 
48), in what may have been little more than street-fighting. Friends who 
were prepared to accommodate themselves to the realities of power were 
found almost everywhere; those who were not had gone into exile. 
Athenian magistrates and, doubtless, garrisons were placed here and 
there. Cleruchies added stability to the situation as well as satisfying land 
hunger at home. Whatever the dating of the Cleinias Decree or the 
Coinage Decree, it still appears that most of the essential tools of 

54 For general decrees applying to the whole empire, cf. M-L 65 = JG i 3 61.13— 16, 41-46. de Ste 
Croix 1961 (e 76) 268—80 is the best treatment of the legal instruments of empire; cf. Schuller 1974(5 

ss The Athenian amphictyones driven out of the temple of Delian Apollo and beaten (Tod, GHI 
125. 1 36-7); an Athenian proxenos killed on Ceos, even before more extensive disorders (Tod, GHI 
142.33-40). 56 Meiggs 1949 (e 5 ia); de Ste Croix 1961 (E76) 268. 

57 Cf. Thuc. hi. 70. 3— 5 for political litigation, direct and indirect. 

58 This is essentially the explanation offered by [Xen.] Ath.Pol. 1.16. 

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446 B.C. 


Athenian control were in use by 446. It is of course the fate of controls to 
produce more recalcitrance waiting for an opportunity. 

1 1 1. 446 b. c. 

Although Athens had made her attempt to bolster the Phocian position 
in Delphi (above, p. 127), most effort was going into sustaining her naval 
empire. Such control as had been exercised over the Locrians by the 
taking of hostages (p. 1 1 5) had been dropped or had become ineffective, 
and, by the spring of 446, 59 former exiles were once more in control in 
north-west Boeotia, notably at Orchomenus and Chaeronea. Something 
needed to be done. Pericles was later said to have been sceptical (Plut. 
Per. 18.2—3), but Tolmides took a thousand Athenian hoplites, sup- 
ported by an allied force on which we have no detail (Phocian 
cooperation at least may be inferred), and moved on Chaeronea, seizing 
some of its inhabitants and leaving a garrison there. As he withdrew, 
doubtless without some of the allies with whom he had been operating, 
he was caught near Coronea by a mixed force from Orchomenus, the 
Locrians, Euboean exiles, doubtless plentiful in Boeotia at the time, and 
‘others of the same mind’, under the command of one Sparton (Plut. 
Ages. 19.2), presumably from his name, a Theban. Tolmides himself and 
other Athenians, notably Cleinias father of Alcibiades, were killed; the 
rest were captured. 60 In order to recover the prisoners, the Athenians 
agreed to evacuate Boeotia completely; Plataea, Eleutherae and Oropus 
remained under their control. The exiles returned, and the cities once 
again became autonomous. 61 There will have been scores to settle and 
thinking to do about the future; no Boeotian activity is visible for the rest 
of the year. How soon the federal constitution described in the Hellenica 
Oxyrhynchia and alluded to by Thucydides was reorganized or estab- 
lished we cannot tell. It is noteworthy that for the rest of the century the 
only coinage in Boeotia is that of Thebes. 62 

The Euboean exiles had seen what could be done, and revolt spread. 
On the chronology of the quota-lists adopted here, the cities of Euboea 
paid their tribute normally at the Dionysia of spring 446, 63 but they went 
into revolt fairly rapidly thereafter. We hear nothing of the cleruchies 

59 See Chronological Notes, p. 502. 

60 The casualty list which bears an epigram generally attributed to Coronea seems to have had a 
maximum of 850 names, say j jo-8jo(Bradeen 1964 (c 1 19) 21-9; Clairmont 1983 (k 17) 164 is not 
quite certain that the name-lists belong to the epigram). If this was 446, there will have been many 
other casualties in places other than Coronea, and the Athenian reaction presupposes that the 
proportion of those captured among the thousand was large. Thuc. 111.67.3 suggests that the 
Boeotians had casualties too. 61 For all this, see Thuc. 1113, 111.62.5, 67 .3, iv.92.6. 

w For more detailed discussion of these events, see Buck 1 979 (f 1 1) 1 j 0-60. The evidence for the 
city and federal constitutions comes mostly from Hell. Oxj. 16 (11); it will be discussed in CAHv t 2 , 
ch. 1 1. 63 Chalcis is not certain, but likely. 

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1 34 


established by Tolmides (p. 6o); we do hear of the massacre of the crew of 
an Athenian ship at Hestiaea (Plut. Per. 23.3). Presumably the exiles 
found sufficient discontent to exploit towards their own return and a 
breaking of ties with Athens; at Chalcis the movement could be 
identified with the landed aristocracy of the hippobotai. 

Pericles had already crossed to Euboea with an Athenian army when 
even worse news came. Megara had revolted, with support from 
Corinth, Sicyon and Epidaurus; most of the Athenian garrison there had 
been killed, though Athenian forces held out at the ports of Nisaea and 
Pegae. There is no word here of Megarian exiles being active or of any 
change of constitution; simple resentment of Athens seems to have been 
the driving force. 64 This was a strategic disaster. Control of the Megarid 
was a substantial inhibition to any Peloponnesian move north of the 
Isthmus. 65 The Five Years’ Truce had expired or was expiring, and a 
Peloponnesian invasion of Attica was expected. Pericles rapidly returned 
from Euboea, and a counter-move against Megara was devised. 66 
Andocides (grandfather of the orator) took three tribes, won a victory 
over the Megarians and based himself on Pegae. 

He was cut off by the arrival of a Peloponnesian force, which must 
have come through Megara itself, and which rapidly penetrated into 
Attica as far as Eleusis and the Thriasian Plain. He was forced to extricate 
himself by a long, circuitous, but apparently undisturbed, march 
through Boeotia; his movements are only known from the gravestone of 
Pythion, a Megarian who died in Athens, claiming to have guided his 
march (M— L 51). 

The Peloponnesian force was commanded by Plistoanax son of 
Pausanias, not the elder king, Archidamus; we can only speculate about 
the reasons. 67 Plistoanax was well under thirty, 68 and was provided with 
advisers, notably Cleandridas (see p. 105; Plut. Per. zz.z 69 ). We have no 
information about the size of his force, but it seems to have been a full 

64 For discussion of the Megarian revolt and campaign see Legon 1981 (f 45) 192-9. He treats 
Megara as an oligarchy throughout; I would be inclined to make the opposite assumption. Megara 
was clearly a democracy in 424 (Thuc. iv.66). There had been a democratic coup some time before 
this; the question is whether it had instituted the democracy or intensified it. de Ste Croix 1972 (G 36) 
243 n. 25 argues from Ar. Ach. 7 5 5 that Megara was more oligarchic than democratic in 426/5; this 
will not bear much weight. Either Megara revoked as a democracy in 446 and remained one, with 
Spartan tolerance, or became one before 424, with Spartan indifference. In view of Sparta’s general 
preference for oligarchies (cf. Thuc. 1.19, 144.2), 1 find the first alternative slightly easier; the 
Megarian democracy had proved its reliability. 65 de Ste Croix 1972 (g 36) 190-}. 

66 This counter-move is not in Thucydides, but Ephorus had it (Diod. xn.5) and M— L 5 1, on 
which the text chiefly depends, confirms him. Since it appears from Diodorus that Ephorus had the 
order - revolt of Megara, Spartan invasion of Attica, battle of Coronea, revolt and suppression of 
Euboea, Thirty Years’ Peace — confirmation is certainly needed. 

67 Andrewes ap. White 1964 (f 71) 140 n. 3; de Ste Croix 1972 (g 36) 142; Lewis 1977 (a 76) 46 

with n. 138. 68 White 1964 (f 71) 140 — 1. 

69 de Ste Croix 1972 (g 36) 197 n. 95 suggests that he was ephor this year. 

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446 B. C. 


league levy; no military difficulty is mentioned (Thuc. 11.21 is slightly 
fuller than 1.1 14.2; cf. v.16.3). Nevertheless, he went no further than the 
Peloponnesian invasion sixty years before, which had broken up for 
rather more public reasons (CAH iv 2 308, 361), and went home. 70 
Contemporaries were quite clear what had happened. Plistoanax and 
Cleandridas had been bribed. Details of their punishment are given 
variously, but both went into exile, Plistoanax to Arcadia, Cleandridas to 
Italy. 71 . On the Athenian side, Pericles’ claim at an audit that he had spent 
10 talents ‘on necessary purposes’ was famous in the 420s (Ar. Clouds 
859) and presumably already bore the interpretation we find later. 
Money may well have passed, but there was surely also some talk about 
the lines which a more permanent settlement between Athens and the 
Peloponnesian League might take. The real mystery is what Pericles said 
to induce his opponents to abandon the protection they were in effect 
providing for the Euboeans. 72 

With the principal threat disposed of, Pericles returned to Euboea. 
Plutarch (Per. 23.3) says he took 5,000 hoplites and fifty ships. The latter 
detail is surprising, since there is no reason to think that the Euboeans 
had any substantial naval force; it might suggest that the loyalty of one or 
more of the remaining naval allies was not beyond doubt. The revolt 
collapsed. There was no forgiveness for the Hestiaeans, held to have 
committed murder (p. 1 34). They were expelled, going by agreement to 
Macedonia (Theopompus FGrH 1 1 5 f 387), and were totally replaced by 
a new settlement of Athenians (2,000: Theopompus loc.cit., 1,000: Diod. 
xn. 22. 2); 73 one of the new settlers, Hierocles, had been active in 
producing oracles during the crisis (M— L 5 2 = /G i 3 40.64-7; Ar. Peace 
1047). The other cities were allowed terms. At Chalcis, the hippobotai 
were expelled (Plut. Per. 23.4), but otherwise Athens was merely politely 
firm. A very well-preserved text (M-L 5 2 = IG i 3 40) gives us the terms 
of the oaths to be exchanged. The Chalcidian oath was to be sworn by all 
of military age; failure to swear would involve loss of civic rights and 
confiscation of property. The expressions of loyalty required were 
extreme, and the loyalty was only to Athens; uniquely in such texts, there 
is no mention of Athens’ allies. 74 In return for loyalty, the Athenian 
Council and jurymen promised the continued integrity of Chalcis, due 
legal procedure in dealing with the state and its citizens, and a hearing 
when it was asked for. The oaths exchanged with Eretria were identical 

70 Diodorus (xii.6.i) says that much land was ravaged and a fort besieged. On the topography of 
the campaign see also Hammond 197} (a 54) 455-4. 

71 Busolt 1895—1904 (a 12) hi 1, 428 argued that Plistoanax was condemned to death; see de Ste 

Croix 1972 (g 56) 198. 72 See de Ste Croix 1972 (g 56) 197—200. 

73 For the regulations governing the new settlement see IG i 3 41 and McGregor 1982 (c 141). 

74 Meiggs 1972 (e 55) 179, 579—82. 

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(IG i 3 39). Hostages had already been taken and would for the present be 
kept ( IG i 3 40.47— 5 2 75 ). The clause defining the limits of Chalcis’ own 
jurisdiction we have already seen (p. 1 3 2). The most difficult clause (lines 
52—7) maintains Chalcis’ right to tax the foreigners in Chalcis, except 
those taxed by Athens or given immunity by her. Discussion of this has 
been linked with the question of whether there was now new Athenian 
settlement at Chalcis. The weight of the evidence seems against it, at least 
in the form of a cleruchy, of which we have no clear contemporary trace. 
But, when we eventually get evidence for the tributes of Chalcis and 
Eretria after 446, there has been a fall, and it is tempting to believe that 
the Athenians used the land of the hippobotai for something. 76 Assign- 
ment to various gods, leasing (cf. IG i 3 41 8), perhaps even simple sale, are 
not to be excluded, and the events of 446 will have produced exiles to 
whom Athens owed a debt and a home. 77 The Chalcis Decree ends with 
an injunction to the generals to keep a watch on Euboea. Athens had had 
a severe fright, and was glad to perform the sacrifices recommended by 
Hierocles’ oracles. The generals were given that task as well, and 
required to find the money for them. 

A contemporary poem is harder to interpret in detail, but should not 
be forgotten. Pythian vm 78 is Pindar’s last dated poem, for an Aeginetan 
who won at Delphi in late summer 446 (did the Phocians still maintain 
the control which the Athenians had given them?). That the poem ends 
with hope for the freedom of Aegina is clear, and it is scarcely less clear 
that Pindar takes pleasure in the fact that the Athenian disturbers of the 
peace have been taught a lesson. But the victor seems to be warned 
against dangerous thoughts; tranquillity, external and internal, is 

Peace negotiations between Athens and Sparta now continued. Callias 
seems to have been the principal negotiator again (Diod. xn.7, which 
adds an unknown Chares; perhaps also Andocides, cf. Andoc. in. 6). He 
was perhaps already Spartan proxenos at Athens. 79 The nature of the 
negotiation may have been unfamiliar. On our evidence, this is the first 
generation which had to face the problems of regulating peace outside 
the framework of an alliance or permanent friendship. The arrangements 
took their name ( spondai ) from the libations which reinforced the oath- 
taking, and seem to have been developed from the short periods of truce 
already used during major festivals (cf. e.g. IG i 3 6.b 8—47). The Argives 

75 See Garlan 1965 (a 44) 332—8. 

76 Cf. Ael. VH vi. i, though this probably refers to the cleruchy of 506 ( CAH iv 2 308). 

77 ATL in 294-7; Brunt 1966 (e 13) 87-9; Mciggs 1972 (b 53) 566-9; Erxicben 1975 (e 23). For 
the Chalcis Decree in general, see Balcer 1978 (e 4). 

78 Wilamowitz 1922 (j 1 10) 439-45; Wade-Gery 1958 (a izi) 250-2, 265-6; Lloyd-Jones 1982 (j 
72) 158-62. 

79 Cf. Xen. Hell, vi.3.4, where his grandson stresses his own role in making peaces with Sparta. 

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446 b. c. 


had sought such arrangements with Sparta in 481 (Hdt, vn.149.1), in 
effect a guarantee that Sparta would not attack them for a generation, but 
the first which we hear of are the Five Years’ spondai between Athens and 
Sparta in 451 (Thuc. 1.112.1) and the Thirty Years’ spondai between 
Sparta and Argos in 45 1/0 (Thuc. v. 14.4, 28.2; Bengtson 1962 (a 3) no. 
144). The Athenians felt later, and rightly, that they had been under the 
heavier pressure to make peace (Thuc. iv.21.3), and made further 
territorial concessions, handing over Nisaea and Pegae, the two ports of 
Megara, Achaea and Troezen. 80 Otherwise each side kept what it held. 
The essential clause was that neither side was to make an armed attack on 
the other, if the latter was willing to go to arbitration. 81 Lists of allies 
were appended to the treaty, which allowed for the possibility of further 
adhesions to either side, but Athens seems to have been barred from full 
alliance with Argos. Whether anything was said explicitly in the treaty 
about the autonomy of the allies on either side, either generally or 
specifically about Aegina (cf. Thuc. 1.67.2), remains unclear; there was a 
clause in the Peace of Nicias providing for the autonomy of certain cities, 
provided they paid Athenian tribute (Thuc. v.18.5), and there may have 
been one here. The duration was fixed at thirty years. Events would 
show that the treaty was very far from watertight, but deficiencies of 
detail in the drafting were less important than the unlikelihood that the 
arbitration clause would work. 

To say that Sparta thus recognized the Athenian empire is to make a 
point which appears in no ancient source (even Thuc. 1.69). It seems that 
the Spartans felt that they had done well to confine Athens to her proper 
sphere, and, although Plistoanax and Cleandridas went into exile, 82 there 
is no trace at Sparta of doubt about the Peace. Athens had renounced 
meddling on the mainland, and the freeing of the Megarid and Boeotia 
had made Attica much more vulnerable to invasion if there was future 
misbehaviour. To maintain pressure of a type which would threaten the 
naval empire would be beyond Sparta’s powers and aspirations. The 
Peace may well have said something to clear Spartan consciences about 
such clear interests as Aegina and Potidaea. In effect, the dualism of 
Cimon’s aspirations, Sparta to dominate by land, Athens by sea, was 
being accepted on both sides. 

There is little sign of dissatisfaction among Athens’ Aegean allies, and 
Athens seems to have made adjustments in the light of the new situation. 
Tribute was paid in spring 445 on the basis of a new, conciliatory, 
assessment. About thirty states have their tributes reduced, and in some 

80 For the terms of the Peace, see Bengtson 1962 (a 3) no. 1 56; de Ste Croix 1972 (c 36) 293-4. 

81 Thuc. vii. 1 8 . 2; de Ste Croix 1972 (c 36) 259; I am less confident than the latter that this was a 
single sentence in the original. 

82 The trial seems to have been some months after the Peace; Gomme, HCT m 664. 

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cases the reduction is unequivocal. The states of Rhodes, for example, 
were paying in the late 440s about three-fifths of their tribute before the 
Peace. In other cases, there may be compensation for Athens. Potidaea 
appears for the first time as a tribute-payer; we know that she continued 
to receive magistrates from Corinth. Given the relations between Athens 
and Corinth before 446, the standard view 83 that she had been a ship 
contributor up to this point does not seem attractive; that she started to 
pay has something to do with the Peace. But there are reductions 
elsewhere on the Pallene peninsula which precisely balance the new 6 
talents from Potidaea; we cannot tell what is going on. Only three rises 
break the pattern. The most noticeable is Thasos, jumping from 3 to 30 
talents. In the general context this can hardly be punitive. It has generally 
been supposed that she has had land or mines restored to her; 84 it may 
rather be that money which she had been paying as indemnity is now 
being paid as tribute. 85 

In terms of actual payment record the picture is quiet. There are minor 
pu2zles. Euboea may have taken time to settle, and there is only one 
recorded payment, from the Cenaeum peninsula, in the lists of 445 and 
444. A case has been made for renewed trouble in Miletus, where there is 
no recorded payment in 445 , 444 or 443, but it is not totally cogent. 86 A 
practically unique entry shows the Lycians and their co-contributors 
paying 10 talents in 445. But, compared with what one might have 
deduced from the literary evidence (Thuc. 1.96, 11. 13), tribute is not very 
large. A strong case can be made 87 for supposing that the actual 
collection was only 376 talents in 443, which compares well with the 
calculation of 388 talents which can be made for 432. 


Whether because of the condemnation of Plistoanax and Cleandridas or 
for other reasons as well, the Athenians may not have been confident that 
the Peace would hold. The evidence for their doubt lies in Pericles’ 
sponsorship of a middle Long Wall (see p. 208, Fig. 25), not finished 
until 443 (PI. Gorg. 455c; Plut. Per. 1 3.7-8; the date from IG i 3 440.1 27). 
The events of 446 had shown an awkward gap in the strategic theory 
which had built the Long Walls. With Euboea in revolt, Athens had had 
nowhere to send its flocks, even if there had been more time for 
preparation, and the Spartans had actually arrived at a time when the 
main land force was out of the city. The middle wall would at least meet 

83 ATL hi 267—8. 

84 Nesselhauf 1933 (e 57) 1 14; ATL in 259. 85 Meiggs 1972 (e 5 3) 85— 6. 

86 Earp 1954 (e 17); Barron 1962 (e6); Meiggs 1972 (e 5 3), 563-5; Picrart 1969, 1974, 1983, 1985 
(e 59-61); Robertson 1987 (e 70; see p. 590. 88). 

87 M-L p. 88. 

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1 39 

such a difficulty as the latter, since it would make it possible to 
concentrate the wall garrison, a more economical use of troops than 
manning the Phaleric Wall. Progress was apparently slow (Cratinus f 
326 K— A), as the danger receded, and we have no evidence that the wall 
was ever used. 

Meanwhile the Acropolis building programme continued, evidently 
without much interruption from external events. 88 We have already 
considered the dedicatory aspects of the Parthenon. As it developed and 
Phidias’ chryselephantine statue took shape, aspects of Athena became 
stressed which went far beyond her traditional role in Athens. 89 Most 
accounts of Athena’s cult, 90 by assuming that the robe offered to Athena 
at the Panathenaea continued to go to the old olive-wood statue, leave 
virtually no cult function for the new temple and statue; the evidence, 
however, seems to suggest 91 that major parts of the cult were boldly 
transferred to the new statue. The goddess created was very much one of 
that generation, and the lines between Athena herself and her city are 
very blurred. 92 To say that the Athenians built the Parthenon to worship 
themselves would be an exaggeration, but not a great one. Pericles, as the 
Funeral Speech (p. 396) makes clear, would probably have accepted that 
the polis was the true object of devotion; one aspect of his polis is the 
nature of the relationship between its citizens. 

The unknown source of Plut. Per. 12. 4ff 93 attributes to Pericles 
economic motives for the building programme, a desire to promote 
employment and stimulate economic activity as a whole, a strange 
foreshadowing of the Keynesian ‘multiplier’. The suspicion must be that 
these motives are anachronistic, but they are as hard to match in later 
ancient theory as in the Classical period. They make no appearance in 
[Xen.] Ath. Pol. 1.13, where they might be expected, and, although 
Aristotle {Pol. vii.i 3 1 3 b 1 8fT) is prepared to discuss building pro- 
grammes as a way in which tyrants keep their subjects busy and poor, he 
never contemplates democratic building as a way of making the demos 
busy and rich. When Xenophon in the 350s ( Vect . 3. 12-13) advocates 
public building, it is to provide income, not work. The specific point 
made by Plutarch is that Pericles wanted the demos to have its share in the 
fruits of empire, but did not wish it to get it in idleness. Anti-democrats 
made it a principal charge against Pericles that he made the demos idle (PI. 

88 Burford 196} (1 }8) 28-52. 

89 Herington 1955 (k 39) ch. 7, but see Harrison 1957 (k 38). 

90 E.g. Simon 1983 (k 85) 66. 9 * Lewis 1979-80 (k 57). 

92 This would be particularly the case if the Panathenaic procession on the Parthenon frieze 
depicted ordinary Athenians (so Brommer 1977 (1 27) 145-50; Simon 1983 (k 85) 58-72), a view 
argued against by Boardman 1977 (1 18). 

93 Meiggs 1963 (d 58) 42-3; Meiggs 1972 (e 55) 139-40; Andrewes 1978 (d 3); Ameling 1985 (c 


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Gorg. 515c); this is a defence, but we cannot fix its date. One ground for 
believing that the passage is relatively early is the fullness and precision 
of the list of trades involved; one would not have thought that they 
would all have suggested themselves to a rhetorician of any very late 
date. What proportion of citizens were engaged in them is perhaps 
another matter. 

For Plutarch the building programme lies at the centre of a political 
struggle. There is enough earlier evidence to confirm that Cimon’s 
political successor was his son-in-law or brother-in-law, Thucydides son 
of Melesias of Alopeke, 94 a shade older than Pericles. His father had had 
no political or military career that we know of, but had an international 
reputation as a wrestling master; all his known pupils are Aeginetans, 
which will at times have caused him embarrassment over his city’s 
foreign policy. Thucydides, unlike Cimon, was more a politician than a 
general, though he could be described as a man of many friends, inside 
and outside Athens (PI. Meno 94d). Plutarch gives an anachronistic 
oligarchic colouring to his political stance, which is contrasted with 
Pericles’ lavishness towards the demos in providing spectacles, employ- 
ment in the fleet, cleruchies and the building programme. Pericles’ 
enemies (vague at Plut. Per. iz.x, explicitly Thucydides at i4.i);are said 
to have attacked the programme as a misappropriation of allied funds 
and excessively lavish in itself; with money compulsorily contributed to 
the war, the Athenians were gilding and embellishing the city like a 
wanton woman, bedecking her with expensive stones and statues and 
temples costing a thousand talents. Pericles’ reply was that no account 
need be rendered to the allies, provided that they received the defence 
that they were paying for; if the city had what was needed for the war, she 
was entitled to use the surplus for creating an eternal glory and the 
economic advantages which we have already considered. 

There are certainly suspicious details in this. It is presupposed, 
apparently, that the war is still on, which is a point against the Peace of 
Callias for its critics and against the debate for its supporters; the point 
might be mitigated by shifting the debate to the origins of the building 
programme, not implausibly. There is certainly rhetorical exaggeration 
in Pericles’ reply that the allies did not contribute horses, ships or 
hoplites. Yet the core seems reasonable enough. We have seen that the 
charge that the programme was financed from the League treasury is 
true, and the complaint about the luxury of the new statues and buildings 
might fit with what has been suggested above about the innovations in 
the cult of Athena. These are credible issues, and Thucydides may well 
have taken a different view from Pericles over relationships with the 

94 Wade-Gery 1958 (a 121) 239-70; Davies 1971 (l 27) 250-5. 

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allies. There is less reason to believe that he had a distinguishable attitude 
on relations with Sparta. 

The course of the debate cannot be plotted in detail. It ended with 
Thucydides’ ostracism, apparently in spring 443, and Pericles’ position 
as leading man in Athens was apparently unchallenged thereafter. 95 The 
precise date rests only on Plut. Per. 16.3; Pericles had fifteen years of 
annual generalships after the ostracism. 96 Surviving ostraca of Pericles 
are very rare, and such evidence as we have, mostly from unpublished 
ostraca, suggests that Thucydides’ supporters tried to concentrate their 
votes, not against him, but against Cleippides, only known from 
literature as general in 428. 

Other events can be associated with the year 443. It seems that, for no 
very obvious reason, the quadrennial assessment of tribute was brought 
forward one year, and the list of 442 shows some tightening of the book- 
keeping. Organization of the lists by tribute districts is now formalized, 
though there had been a considerable move to geographical order 
earlier, and for two years the hellenotamiai employed a second secretary; 
the poet Sophocles was their chairman for 443/2, and the spelling of 
foreign names is improved. 

More substantially, the archon-year 444/3 is the year of the final 
foundation of Thurii, on the instep of Italy, under Athenian auspices 
[Plut.] Mor. 835c). 97 Since the destruction of the great city of Sybaris in 
510, the remnants of its population and the area around it had had a 
chequered history, which we cannot recover in detail. 98 The situation 
becomes clearer from 452 (Diod. xi.90.3— 4 and, for the later develop- 
ments,; for the numismatic evidence see Kraay 1976 (c 190) 
173-4; see Fig. 4). Under an unknown Thessalos, there was then a 
refoundation with citizens drawn from Laos and Posidonia. Suppressed 
again by Croton, the exiles appealed to Sparta, which paid no attention, 
and to Athens. In 446/5 Athens assumed responsibility, and refounded 
Sybaris by sending ten ships; the coins of the new Sybaris have a very 
Athenian Athena on their obverse. Further trouble followed over the 
privileges claimed by the descendants of old Sybaris, who were expelled 
(Diod. xii. 22.1). In 444/3 the settlement was renamed Thurii and given a 
democratic constitution with ten tribes (Areas, Achaeis, Eleia, Boeotia, 

95 The nature of his constitutional position is discussed in ch. 4. 

96 This is not evidence that he failed to be elected in 444/3, as maintained by Wade-Gery 1958 (a 
m) 240. 

97 See Wade-Gery 1958 (a 121) 255-8; Ehrenberg 1948 (e 20); Smart 1972 (e 83) 138-9 with n. 71. 

98 See CAH iii 2 .3, 1 84. Diod. xi.48.4 attests some kind of continuance in the time of Hieron. For 
coinage at Laos (cf. Hdt. vi.2i), see Kraay 1976(0 190) 172—3, who also argues (p. 176) for a move to 
Posidonia. Van Effenterre 1980 (f 22) 193-5 considers the possibility that M-L 10 is later than 5 10. 
For an extreme view of a continuously prospering Sybaris, see Vickers 1985 (c 198) 36-7. 

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Fig. 4. Silver coins ofSybaris and Thurii. (a, b) stater and diobol of about 450 b.c.; (r) drachma with 
bull of Sybaris but the name now in Ionic letters and Athena head obverse, about 44; b.c. after 
refoundation by Athens; ( d) drachma type changed about 440 b.c.; (r) stater with the new name, 
about 440 b.c. (After Kraay 1976 (c 190) nos. 584-7, 728.) 

Amphictyonis, Doris, las, Athenaeis, Euboeis, Nesiotis), which made 
no provision at all for old Sybarites. The Athena head remained on the 
coins. Among the colonists, at once or eventually, were Herodotus and 
the family of the orator Lysias (originally Syracusan, but in exile at 
Athens); Protagoras is said to have written the law code (Heracl. Pont. 
ap. D.L. ix. 8. 50), and Hippodamus, the Milesian town-planner and 
political theorist, also went there; he was surely responsible for the grid- 
plan of the city which Diodorus describes. 

Diodorus has only one refounding expedition, where modern scho- 
lars, on the evidence of the coins, have two, and it is not certain where his 
details belong. If he is correct in associating the sending of heralds to the 
Peloponnese to invite settlers with an expedition led by Pericles’ seer 
Lampon and Xenocritus, there is no ground for distinguishing two 
types of Athenian thinking in the ventures. The only change was that the 
original Sybarites proved indigestible. What began with Athens assert- 
ing her position as a great Greek power in refounding a famous city 
turned into an altogether new foundation, one of mixed origins, but in 
which the Athenians were the largest identifiable element (cf. Diod. 
xii. 3 5.2). Although many other states were represented, this is not 
necessarily a sign of pure panhellenism; those who went from the 
Peloponnese or from Boeotia may well have felt politically, as well as 

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economically, uncomfortable at home. Their gratitude to Athens wore 
thin later (Diod. xii.35, cf. Thuc. vn.33.5, vm.35.1), but they were 
taking part in a project in which Athens’ interests were all-important. 
The colony was a cultural and political gesture, and may have had 
economic motives as well; the plentiful timber supplies of Italy could 
have been in view." That Athenian interest in the West was increasing in 
this period is likely enough; the original Athenian treaty with Rhegium 
on the toe of Italy seems to be near Thurii in date. 100 

But the first event after the Thirty Years’ Peace thought worthy of 
report by Thucydides is in 440, a war between Samos and Miletus about 
Priene. This bordered the Samian possessions on the mainland, but was 
an independent state, paying a regular tribute of one talent to Athens 
until 44 1 . Miletus’ tribute may have been interrupted (see p. 138), but she 
was paying again in 442. Samos had remained a ship contributor, under 
an oligarchy. The claims and counter-claims are obscure for us, 101 but the 
Milesians got the worst of the war and, supported by individual Samian 
democrats, denounced the Samians to Athens. Athens’ case for interven- 
tion was rather curious. Since her allies had sworn to have the same 
friends and enemies, it could be held that wars within the empire were 
against their oaths. The Peloponnesian League had never interpreted the 
oath in that sense, but the Athenians now did. ‘Fighting each other’ is 
given by Hermocrates at Thuc. vi.76.3 as one of the pretexts used by 
Athens for subjecting her allies; this is the only instance we know, and it 
may have been preceded by a Samian refusal to accept Athenian 
arbitration (Plut. Per. 25.1). 102 An Athenian fleet 103 of forty ships went to 
Samos, took a hundred hostages, depositing them on Lemnos, and set up 
a democracy supported by an Athenian garrison. Samos retained her 
fleet. 104 

Some Samians fled to the mainland and applied to Pissuthnes, the 
satrap of Sardis, for help. They raised 700 mercenaries and, coordinating 
their plan with the Samian upper classes, crossed to Samos by night. An 
attack on the demos was largely successful, the hostages were daringly 
rescued from Lemnos (a round trip of 640 km or so), and Samos was in 
revolt. The Athenian garrison and magistrates were handed over to 
Pissuthnes . 105 An expedition was prepared against Miletus, evidence 
both for the height of feeling among the Samians and their scepticism 

99 Cf. Mciggs 1982 (l 99) 124—5. 

100 This and a treaty with Leontini in Sicily were renewed together in 455/2 (M-L 65-4), but the 
date of the original treaty with Leontini, probably earlier, is harder to fix; see Lewis 1976 (c 159). 

101 See Meiggs 1972 (e 55) 428: the position of Marathesium, paying tribute for the first time, 

probably, in 442. 102 de Ste Croix 1972 (c 36) 1 20-1. 

103 Commanded by Pericles, according to Diod. xn.27.1 and Plut. Per. 25.2. 

104 On this part of the story see Schuller 1981 (e 79). For the chronology, see p. 502. 

105 For the implications of Pissuthnes* activities see Lewis 1977 (a 76) 59. 

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about the power of Athens to interfere. Athenian response was, 
however, swift. Chios and Lesbos were summoned to help and a force 
went to Caria to watch for any mobilization of the Phoenician fleet. With 
a force of 44 ships, Pericles caught a Samian fleet of 70 ships returning 
from Miletus and won a victory. Reinforced by 40 more ships from 
Athens and 25 from Chios and Lesbos, the Athenians landed and started 
a siege. At this point, reports of the approach of the Phoenician fleet 
grew stronger, 106 and Pericles took 60 ships towards Caria. In his 
absence the Samians broke out and did much damage to the remains of 
the blockading squadron and their camp; for fourteen days they 
controlled their home waters and replenished their supplies. On Pericles’ 
return the siege was resumed. Further reinforcements, 60 ships from 
Athens, 30 from Chios and Lesbos, created an overwhelming force, and, 
though the siege continued for some months, the Samians at last 
surrendered. Their walls were demolished and their fleet handed over to 
Athens, and they agreed to repay the cost of their subjection by 
instalments; it is, however, by no rpeans clear that Athens continued her 
attempt to impose democracy. 107 There had indeed been no sign that 
democracy at Samos had deep roots; her sailors had fought well. If an 
oligarchy remained, it was one without a fleet which had been forced to 
give up mainland adventures. A settlement of exiles is later found at 
Anaea on the mainland opposite. 

One of the clearest indications of the incompleteness of Thucydides’ 
account of the Fifty Years is that the four hundred words which he 
devotes to this episode contain no hint of an important event which he 
refers to elsewhere (1.40.5, 41.2). The Peloponnesian League congress 
met and was divided in its opinions as to whether to help the Samians; all 
we know of the debate is that the Corinthians claimed to have spoken 
against intervention and for the right of a great power to chastise its own 
allies. It has been held 108 that, if the course of events was the same as that 
in 432 (see below, p. 378), such a League meeting would have been 
preceded by a decision of the Spartan Assembly that there was a prima 
facie case for war. That is perhaps an extreme view, but it is reasonably 
clear that Sparta at least thought that the opinion of her allies should be 
tested. It should be even clearer that news of such a meeting will not have 
encouraged Athenian belief in the durability of the Thirty Years’ 
Peace. 109 

That the Samians had come near to taking the command of the sea 

106 It is in fact not clear that it was ever mobilized at all {ibid.). 

107 On the fragmentary epigraphic record of the treaty (M— L 5 6 = IG i 3 48) see also Fornara 1 979 
(e 26), Bridges 1980 (c 123). On the constitution of Samos after 439, see Meiggs 1972 (e 53) 193—4 
and Schuller 1981 (e 79) (democracy). Will 1969 (e 94) and Quinn 1981 (e 64) 13—19 (oligarchy). 

108 Jones 1952—3 (e 38); cf. de Ste Croix 1972 (c 36) 200-3. 

109 Th e Peloponnesians were mentioned in the treaty between Samos and Athens {IG i 3 48.7); we 
cannot tell how. 

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from Athens (Thuc. vm.76.4) is an exaggeration, but the situation had 
been dangerous. Nevertheless, the possible intervention from Persia and 
the Peloponnesians had not happened, and the Lesbian and Chian fleets 
had answered Athens’ call. The Samians had been virtually isolated. 
Only Byzantium, in an episode of which we know nothing whatever, 
had joined the revolt and returned to allegiance; she may have been 
moved by the change of sides by her mother-city Megara. The Athenian 
empire had survived. 

The Samian revolt is the latest event described by Thucydides before 
the sequence which started in 435 and led to the outbreak of war. The 
impression of a historical lull is heightened by a sheer accident; the 
tribute quota-lists of 438, 437, 436, most of 435 and half of 434 have 
been lost by the weathering of the stone. From the missing years, two 
events emerge which, in their different ways, illustrate Athenian self- 
assertion. 110 

The first, the foundation of Amphipolis, has a clear date, the archon- 
year 437/6 (Diod. xn.32.2; Schol. Aeschin. 11.31, cf. Thuc. iv. 102.3). 
Athenian eyes had long been fixed on the area where the river Strymon 
came down to the sea in a great bend. Now, after the failures of 476 (pp. 
41-2) and 465 (p. 44), the dream became a reality. Hagnon, who had 
already served in the Samian War, drove out the Edonians, built a wall 
from river to river and founded a great city. The Strymon crossing was 
in itself worth controlling, and by 424 the city was already a vital interest 
for Athens (Thuc. iv.108.1), for its supplies of ship timber and its 
financial resources (that is, principally, the gold mines of Mt Pangaeum). 
Ten thousand settlers had been thought appropriate in 465, and we 
should think of a similar number now, but we have very little infor- 
mation about how they were made up. The Athenian element was not 
large (Thuc. iv. 106. 1), and otherwise we only hear specifically of settlers 
from Argilus (Thuc. iv. 103. 3);' 11 the dialect was the Euboean form of 
Ionic (Tod, GHI 150), and doubtless Chalcidians from Thrace were 
strongly represented. We have next to no information about the 
constitution. 112 

More shadowy is Pericles’ expedition to the Black Sea, briefly 

110 It is tempting to add a third. At some time before 431, Athens intervened in north-west 
Greece in a local quarrel between Ambracia and the Acarnanians, sending thirty ships under 
Phormio; some Ambraciots were sold into slavery, and an alliance was made between Athens and 
the Acarnanians (Thuc. 11.68. 2-9). Ambracia was a Corinthian colony with very close ties to her 
mother-city (Graham 1964 (a 5 2) 138—40), and Corinth had been the only great power in the area. 
There is no clear way to date the episode, but the early 430s seem most likely (Meiggs 1972 (e 5 3) 

111 Argilus was always hostile to the colony, and presumably lost land to it, since its tribute drops 
from 1 talent in 437 to 1,000 drachmae in 432. (It is probably a stone-cutter’s error which shows it 
paying 10J talents in 453; contra , Meiggs 1972 (e 53) 159 n. 3.) 

112 iG r 3 47 may be an Athenian decree relevant to the foundation. For recent excavations see 
Archaeological Reports 1976-7, 92; 1978— 9, 29-31; 1980-1,33; 1981-2,41; 1982-3,44—5; 1983-4,48- 
9; 1984-5, 47-8. 

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Fig. 5. Silver coin of Amisus, renamed 
Piraeus. (After E. Babelon, Traite des 
monnaies grecques et romaines (1901 — 19) 11 
pi. 185, 1 x ; cf. B. V. Head, Historia 
Numorum (1911) 496.) 

described by Plutarch (Per. 20.1— 2). 1,3 With a large fleet, splendidly 
fitted out, he attended to the needs of the Greek cities in a friendly way 
and showed the greatness of Athenian power to the barbarians around 
and their kings. The only detail is that he left thirteen ships at Sinope 
with Lamachus, who assisted in driving out the tyrant Timesileos; 114 six 
hundred volunteer Athenian settlers went to Sinope to take over the 
property of the tyrant’s faction. We have no idea where else Pericles 
went, though there is a strongish case for an Athenian settlement at 
Amisus (Theopompus FGrH 1 1 5 f 389, Appian Bell. Mithr. 83; fourth- 
century coins with an owl on the reverse ( HN 2 496) (Fig. 5) show it 
renamed Piraeus). The corn supply from the Black Sea seems to have 
been reliable thereafter and in the fourth century Athenian relations with 
the Spartocid dynasty of the Crimea had long been good (see CAH vi 2 , 
chapter 1 ij), but there is no particular reason to associate the expedition 
with the accession of Spartocus in 438/7 (Diod. xii.31.1). 

A contemporary (Ion fr.16 ap. Plut. Per. 28.7) reports that, after the 
Samian War, Pericles said that it had taken Agamemnon ten years to 
capture a barbarian city, but that he had defeated the first and most 
powerful of the Ionians in nine months. The remark was not likely to be 
well received by panhellenists (cf. the comment of Cimon’s sister 
Elpinice at Plut. Per. 28.6), and makes few appearances in the modern 
literature. The year 446 had been a bad one, but in the ten years thereafter 
Athens under Pericles had squashed a major revolt in the empire, 
founded two great cities, dedicated the most splendid of temples with a 
cult-statue of unparalleled splendour at the Great Panathenaea of 438 
(Schol. Ar. Peace 605), and sailed on the track of the Argonauts. Pericles 
was not a modest man, and there was nothing little about his ideas. 

1.3 The approximate date of the expedition is not now in doubt, despite the attempt of AT L in 
1 14— 17 to date it around 450. Besides arguments from the age of Lamachus, it is now virtually 
certain that an Athenian casualty list of the 430s listed casualties ‘in [Sinjope’ ( iv [Eiv]6ttc 1) (new 
fragment of Agora xvn 17 in Clairmont 1979(0 126) 123-6 and 1983 (k 17) 178—80; Clairmont’s view 
that the stone was not inscribed until 43 1 is not convincing, but it certainly cannot go back into the 

1.4 Timesileos seems to have gone to Olbia; see Vinogradov 1981 (p 69) ( SEG xxxi 701). 

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SICILY, 478-431 b.c. 


After the battle of Himera in 480 (see CAH iv 2 771—5), Sicily was once 
again divided into four main political blocs. The western corner of the 
island was the ‘epicracy’, or dominion, of Carthage, with major centres at 
Panormus, Solus and Motya, and no territorial changes despite the 
Greek victory. The Elymian enclave, with its main cities of Segesta, 
Eryx and Entella, also remained subject to Carthage, though culturally 
hellenized, and Greek Selinus, while aspiring to neutrality, remained 
subservient to Carthage as well. Although Punic Sicily flourished 
throughout the fifth century, Carthage itself was notably absent from 
Sicilian affairs. Greek Sicily also remained divided into its three epicra- 
cies under their respective ruling dynasties: the Deinomenids at Syra- 
cuse, the Emmenids at Acragas and the Anaxilads at Rhegium. To these 
three all other Siciliote cities were subject; Syracuse controlled Naxus, 
Leondni, Catana and Camarina; Acragas dominated Gela and Himera; 
and Messana was united with Rhegium. The determining force was no 
longer the Greek-Punic antagonism of the 480s, but the maintenance of 
the balance of power between the two main epicracies, the Syracusan and 
the Acragantine, the latent rivalry between them suddenly erupting in 
unexpected ‘wars’. The Sicel (and Sican) heart of the island, separated 
from, yet connected with, the Greek coastal fringe by a large hellenized 
belt, remained unaffected by fifth-century changes, whereas the helle- 
nized Sicel zones, especially the part subject to Syracuse in eastern Sicily, 
were to play a role in an extraordinary though unsuccessful attempt at 

A useful collection of sources (literary, epigraphic and numismatic) on Sicily in this period is 
included in Hill, Sources 2 , Index v, pp. 361-4; for sources and bibliography on ancient sites see Manni 
1981 (h 1 1); evidence from archaeology and air photography, indispensable and invaluable today, 
will be found in section h of the Bibliography. The main narrative is to be found in the Sicilian 
chapters of Diodorus Siculus (xi.38, 48-9, 31—3, 39, 66-8, 72—3, 76, 78, 86-92, xn.8, 26, 29-30), 
mainly following Timaeus’ Histories (Books xi-xh; see fragments in FCrH 566). Diodorus’ dates 
should often be taken as approximate, owing to his habit of bringing together under the same year 
several events belonging to a longer period. The relevant odes of Pindar { 01 . i-vi, xn; Pjth. i-m; 
Nem. 1 , ix; Istbm. 11 ), with their scholia, and Bacchylides {Epin. hi— v), as well as a few fragments of 
Aeschylus and Simonides, reflect the opinion of foreign court guests on their hosts and on some of 
the historical events mentioned in this chapter. Pausanias’ description of Sicilian dedications at 
Olympia and Delphi and his data on Sicilian victors at panhellenic games add valuable information. 


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7. SICILY, 478-43 I B.C 

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Unquestionably, the central event of the period is the fall of the three 
Greek tyrannies and the subsequent disintegration of their respective 
epicracies. Yet its lasting effect was practically confined to the internal 
affairs of the cities concerned. All major trends and structures of Sicilian 
and Western history remained basically unaffected. Economic and 
cultural prosperity, hellenization, the tendency towards the creation of 
blocs and new epicracies, the drive of the latter to annexe the hellenized 
Sicel belt, and, on a more comprehensive scale, the struggle for 
hegemony on the Tyrrhenian Sea and the irreversible Etruscan decline — 
such historical trends, though some of them temporarily halted by the 
fall of the tyrannies, all emerged stronger than ever within a couple of 
decades. Continuity prevailed over change in fifth-century Sicily. The 
democracies had to conform to the rules of the game laid down in the age 
of the tyrannies and determined by the given framework of economic 
and political interests and powers. 


After Gelon’s death in 478/7, his brother Hiero ascended the Syracusan 
throne, according to the alleged Deinomenid rule of succession from 
brother to brother. Hiero’s younger brother Polyzalos was married to 
Gelon’s widow Damarete (the daughter of Theron of Acragas) and 
received the governorship of Gela, at the time under Syracusan sover- 
eignty. Polyzalos then gave his daughter from a previous wife to 
Theron, thereby cementing relations with Acragas and the Emmenid 
dynasty ( FGrH 566 f 93; Hill, Sources 2 b ioi). Tensions between the two 
Deinomenid brothers must have arisen immediately. Though much 
pleased to be addressed publicly by Pindar, his greatest court poet, as the 
‘basileus who governs Syracuse’ (Fytb. 111.70) or the ‘tyramos, leader of the 
people’ {ibid. 85), Hiero himself never used an official title or put his own 
name on coins. Rather, he always signed himself modestly ‘Hiero, the 
son of Deinomenes’, adding tactfully ‘and the Syracusans’ on official 
dedications (M-L 29), and his coins were always ‘of the Syracusans’. 
Polyzalos was a different character. He pompously dubbed himself ‘The 
One who is Lord (favaaaoov) over Gela’ on the base of the famous 
Delphic Charioteer (Hill, Sources 2 b ioi), and manifestly resented his 
second-class position in the state. When Hiero tried to get rid of him by 
sending him to war in Italy, Polyzalos returned to Gela victorious at the 
head of a great army and joined forces with Theron. War between 
Syracuse and Acragas was prevented, according to one version of the 
story, at the last moment through the good offices of a common friend of 
Hiero and Theron, the poet Simonides of Ceos. The crisis passed, 
Polyzalos kept Gela, and the Grand Alliance between the Deinomenids 
and the Emmenids was saved ( FGrH 566 f 93; cf. Diod. xi.48.3-8). 

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IJO 7 - StdLY, 478-43 I B.C. 

Hiero’s next problem was how to achieve Syracusan control over the 
eastern and northern coasts of Sicily. The area was largely Sicel, with 
four important Chalcidian cities peacefully coexisting with their helle- 
nized neighbours: Naxus, Catana and Leontini on the eastern area, and 
Himera, a dependency of Acragas, on the northern coast. Hiero soon 
decided to resume Gelon’s policy of mass-deportation and resettlement. 
In 476 the entire population of Naxus and Catana was transferred to 
Leontini; Naxus apparently remained depopulated, while Catana was 
resettled with 10,000 Dorian colonists and renamed Aitna. Chromios, a 
brother-in-law of Gelon and an old partisan of the Deinomenid cause, 
was appointed epitropos of Aitna until Hiero’s son, Deinomenes, came of 
age (Diod. xi.49.1— 2; Pind. Pyth. 1; Nem. 1, ix, with scholia). The event 
was celebrated by a series of tetradrachms and drachms, of which only 
single specimens have survived, showing on the reverse a seated Zeus 
‘Aitnaios’ holding thunderbolt and sceptre and a Syracusan quadriga on 
the obverse. Contemporary sources are full of the praises of court poets. 
Pindar calls Hiero ‘Aitnaios’ and ‘the renowned Founder of Aitna’, and 
dedicated to Chromios two Nemean odes. Pindar was fond of the idea of 
a Dorian community in Aitna ‘living in freedom according to the laws of 
Hyllos’ rule’ (Pyth. 1.6 1), and even the Ionian Bacchylides was-enthusi- 
astic about ‘well-built’ Aitna (fr. 20c. 7), and the Athenian Aeschylus 
contributed a drama, The Aitnaean Women, written specially for the 
occasion ( Vit.Aescb. 9). However, for a view of the less glorious side of 
mass-deportation we must turn to later sources. Four main points clearly 
emerge from Diodorus’ account of the foundation of Aitna (probably 
derived from Timaeus): the Chalcidians were forcibly deported; Catana 
was resettled by Hiero’s ‘own colonists’, 5,000 from Syracuse and as 
many from the Peloponnese; 1 lots were distributed in the newly 
delimited territory of Aitna, after it had been much enlarged through 
expropriation of neighbouring Sicel lands; and finally, the unflattering 
assumption was made that the real aim of the enterprise was to create a 
ready base of loyal supporters and establish a Founder-cult of Hiero. In 
any case, contrary to official expectations, Aitna had but a short and 
precarious life. It began with an eruption of nearby Etna, 2 an ominous 
event that greatly impressed both Pindar and Aeschylus, and ended in 
461 with an outbreak of a different kind (see below, pp. i6if). 

1 According to Schol. Pind. Pj/b. i 62 (120) b, settlers were brought from Gela, Megara and 
Syracuse (but Megara ceased to exist c. 48 3). Evidence on Arcadian immigrants is relatively solid for 
the first half of the century, e.g. Hagcsias of Stymphalus (Pind. Olymp. vi), Phormis of Maenalus 
(Paus. v. 2 7. iff), Praxiteles ofMantinea (scc below, n. 8), and others (see Guarducci 1953 (h 2 3) and 
1959-6° (c: 132) 270). 

2 In 475, according to Thucydides’ informants (111.116.2); the Marmor Pdrium mentions an 
eruption (the same or a previous one?) under the year 479/8 (see FGrH 239 a 52). 

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Theron of Acragas was not to be outdone. He too must found, or at 
least refound, a city, preferably a Chalcidian one. Himera was under his 
sway, harshly governed by his son Thrasybulus. In the same year that 
Aitna was founded, some harassed citizens of Himera secretly com- 
plained to Hiero, a fatal faux pas that was immediately revealed to 
Theron and branded subversive. The ‘plotters’, who were many, were 
promptly arrested and either put to death or exiled. No better oppor- 
tunity to ‘refound’ Himera could have been hoped for. Accordingly, all 
the confiscated houses and lands of the dead or banished plotters were 
granted to a group of settlers, mainly Dorian, who had been enrolled by 
Theron for this purpose. Surprisingly enough, Diodorus tells us that the 
new settlers lived on good terms with the surviving citizens of Himera 
until the end of the century (xi.48.6-8, 49.3-4). If so, Himera, with its 
mixed Ionian— Dorian population and dialect, and its mixed cults and 
institutions, provides us with a remarkable example of peaceful coexist- 
ence in a century marked by cruel episodes of ethnic antagonism. 3 By 
now, all Sicilian coastal cities were Dorian: in two of them, Himera and 
Messana, lived Chalcidian communities, and the inland Leontini became 
an internment camp for all the surviving Ionians. 

With the colonization of Aitna and Himera in 476, Messana found 
itself surrounded. Left since the battle of Himera without Carthage, his 
major ally, Anaxilas managed to survive by quickly switching to Gelon’s 
side and giving his daughter in marriage to Hiero (Schol. Pind. Pjith. 
1. 5 8); but he could not afford to conduct an independent foreign policy. 
Inasmuch as Hiero’s best friends in southern Italy were Epizephyrian 
Locri and the scattered Sybarite communities, Rhegium and Croton, 
both substantial powers, found themselves in the grip of Syracuse. 
Hiero’s dream of supplanting Rhegium on the Tyrrhenian Sea was 
realized soon after Anaxilas’ death around 476 when a delegation from 
Campanian Cumae asked Hiero for help against the Etruscans. A 
Syracusan fleet put in immediately at Cumae, joined with local forces to 
fight a naval battle, in which many Etruscan ships were destroyed, and 
delivered Cumae from danger (Pind. Pjth. 1.7 1 with scholia; schol. to 
ibid. 11. 1 ; Diod. xi.5 1). It was presumably in connexion with this famous 
battle (474 b.c.) that an abortive attempt was made to garrison the island 
of Pithecussae (Ischia), opposite Cumae, with Syracusan military settlers 
(Str. v.4.9, p. 248). With Cumae and her new colony at Naples both 
friendly to Hiero, the southern Tyrrhenian Sea was gradually becoming 
a Syracusan lake. 

3 Probably in the same year another plot was crushed by Theron; two Emmenids in exile, Capys 
and Hippocrates, first occupied Camicus, a Sican town (the legendary capital of Kokalos, located on 
Mt S. Caiogero near modern Sciacca)and then fought to the last near Himera (FGrH 568 f 2; Schol. 
Pind. Of. n 95). 

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7 - SICILY, 478-431 B.C. 


Fig. 6. Bronze helmet of Etruscan type dedi- 
cated by Hiero at Olympia. ‘Hiero, son of 
Deinomenes, and the Syracusans [dedicate) to 
Zeus, from the Tyrrhenian spoils at Cumae.’ 
(M— L 29; after W. Hege and G. Rodenwaldt, 
Olympia (1956) 27, fig. 12.) 

Hiero and his court poets made the most of the battle of Cumae. Part 
of the spoils was promptly sent as offerings to Olympia and Delphi. At 
Olympia three bronze helmets (M-L 29; SEG xxxm 328) have been 
found bearing inscriptions in archaic Syracusan script: ‘Hiero, the son of 
Deinomenes, and the Syracusans — to Zeus, from (the spoils of) the 
Tyrrhenian at Cumae’ (Fig. 6). At Delphi a golden tripod and a Nike 
were later dedicated by Hiero beside the tripod offered there by Gelon 
after the battle of Himera (Ath. vi.23if; cf. Bacch. in. 17-19). The 
panhellenic myth of Greeks fighting barbarians was revived. Simonides, 
in a well-known, but possibly partly spurious, epigram (Page, Epigr. Gr. 
Sim. xxxiv), represented the sons of Deinomenes as ‘conquerors of 
barbarian nations who offered the Greeks a mighty allied hand for 
freedom’. Pindar for once was less enthusiastic: his own prayer in 470 
was that ‘the Phoenician and the Tyrrhenians’ war-cry keep quiet at 
home: it has seen what woe to its ships came of its pride before Kyme’ 
( Pjth . 1.72 f). All this looks like a well-orchestrated plan on the part of 
Hiero to emulate Gelon and even surpass him in feats of arms, display of 
wealth, and panhellenic propaganda. This, of course, is not to say that 
the battle of Cumae was an insignificant event. On the contrary, modern 
scholars have rightly considered it the turning point in the Etruscan 
decline; but this decline was not yet perceptible to Hiero’s generation. 
And Hiero’s panhellenic propaganda, though formally justifiable by the 
fact that Dorian Syracuse fought with Chalcidian Cumae against the 
Etruscans, was obviously intended also to obscure the memory of less 
pleasant facts, as Gelon’s refusal to give a ‘mighty allied hand’ to the 
Greeks against the Persians ( CAH iv 2 772) and Hiero’s own policy of 
dechalcidization and doricization in Sicily. 

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1 5 3 

Hiero’s control over the Tyrrhenian coast as far as Cumae remained 
firmly in his hands until the end of his life. After Anaxilas’ death in about 
476, the overlordship over Rhegium and Messana was entrusted to 
Micythos, a former liegeman of Anaxilas, who ruled honestly as epitropos 
of his master’s sons (Hdt. vii. 170.4; Just, iv 2.5; Diod. xi.48.2). 
However, as soon as they came of age ( c . 469/8), Micythos was 
honourably dismissed through the direct intervention of Hiero, and 
after rendering an impeccable account of his administration, he retired to 
spend the rest of his life at Tegea in Arcadia (Hdt. loc. cit.\ Paus. v.26.2— 5 ; 
DGE 794). 

Apart from these crises, the Concert of Greek Sicily was successfully 
orchestrated by Hiero until his major partner Theron died in 472. 
Hiero’s last years were certainly not his happiest. The fall of the tyrannies 
at Acragas, Gela and Himera must have had repercussions within the 
Syracusan epicracy, perhaps in the form of increased oppression; but 
evidence is ambiguous and lacks a precise chronological setting. Epi- 
charmus’ picture of night watchmen (peripoloi ) giving a good beating to a 
suspected vagabond in the streets of Syracuse (fr. 3 5 Kaibel) is no more 
than a picturesque scene from the night life of any ancient city. But 
regular employment of spies and delators under Hiero seems well 
attested. Aristotle may have preserved a Syracusan term, potagogides, for 
women-spies(P); he also mentions the ‘eavesdroppers’ ( otakoustai ) des- 
patched by Hiero to report the utterances and sentiments of people in 
town (Pol. v. 1 3 1 3 b 1 1 ). Even such devices, however, are not peculiar to 
tyrannies; democracies too had their sycophants, and Aristotle himself 
was aware that Hiero’s model for his eavesdroppers might have been 
borrowed from Persia. Yet at Syracuse they aroused dread and suspicion 
even at the tyrant’s court. 

Nevertheless, Hiero’s court was pre-eminently a salon of literary men. 
It probably developed as such during the years of the tyrant’s illness. 
Almost all his guests were great poets imported from Greece and Ionia: 
Pindar, who settled in Sicily long enough to make friends and enemies at 
court and to dedicate to Sicilian tyrants and magnates one-third of his 
extant poems; Aeschylus, whose Persians was performed at Syracuse in 
471 (another instance of panhellenic propaganda) ( Vit.Aescb . 18), and 
came to Sicily for a last time after 45 8 to settle and die at Gela; Simonides 
of Ceos, to whom are also ascribed odes in honour of Theron’s brother 
Xenocrates and Anaxilas (or his son Leophron); Simonides’ nephew 
Bacchylides and the Ionian Xenophanes of Colophon. Two of his guests 
were certainly Sicilians: Epicharmus and Phormis. 

A valetudinarian despot like his elder brother, Hiero suffered for years 
from gall-stones. In about 474/3 his illness was alarming enough for 
Pindar to send him a consolatory letter ( Pythian 111); and in 470 the poet 
compared Hiero with Philoctetes, the wounded hero (Pjth. 1.50). At last, 
in 467 the tyrant died; he was buried in Aitna and accorded heroic 

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1 54 

J. SICILY, 478— 43 1 B.C. 

honours (Diod. xi.66.4; Str. vi.2.3, p. 268). To his son Deinomenes, by 
then governor of Aitna, he left the task of dedicating at Olympia the 
offerings he had vowed for his victories (Paus. vi.12.1, vm.42.8). With 
Hiero’s death, the age of archaic tyranny in Sicily came to an end. After 
him, le deluge. As was the case with many archaic tyrants, Hiero’s 
appraisal by his contemporaries and later generations was ambivalent. 
Inevitably, to his court poets he was a wise and just king, never jealous of 
nobles, a generous host, the blessed leader of armies, the first in opulence 
and glory, and even a man of letters. Later authors display mixed 
feelings. The Timaean tradition as retained by Diodorus had much good 
to say of Gelon, but not of Hiero, who is depicted as violent and 
avaricious, unbeloved by his subjects and a stranger to sincerity and 
nobility of character. A different appraisal was expressed by Xenophon, 
who wrote a fictitious dialogue between Hiero and Simonides on the 
happiness of tyrants and their subjects. Later, Plutarch ( Mor . 5 5 1 f) 
favourably compared Hiero and Pisistratus, both of whom, he says, 
maintained ‘good order’ {eunomia), promoted husbandry, and taught the 
people sobriety and industry. The comparison of Hiero with Pisistratus 
implies that in later centuries, at least some archaic tyrants could be 
judged by their actions, without the modern need to classify them 
sociologically as ‘restorers’ or ‘revolutionaries’. Hiero, like Gelon - but 
unlike Pisistratus - was indeed a champion of the old good order, and the 
Deinomenids were remembered as such when their rule was contrasted 
with the years of democratic anarchy preceding and following them. 
Theirs was a military monarchy, the rise and fall of which never entailed 
an economic revolution of any sort; as a result, both agrarian and 
commercial classes were left to thrive. It was truly a golden age for 
Syracuse, and even allowing for the high price in human suffering, it was 
a golden age for most of the Western Greeks as well. 


As we said earlier, the central event of Sicilian history during the period 
in question is the fall of the three great dynasties within a decade (471- 
462) and the consequent disintegration of their respecdve epicracies. 
Acragas was the first to meet this fate for the simple reason that Theron 
was the first of the great established tyrants to die without leaving a 
worthy successor. In 472 his son Thrasydaeus ascended the throne. 
Having demonstrated his unfitness as governor of Himera, in the first 
and only year of his reign at Acragas he provoked a pointless war with 
Syracuse by conscripting an alarming host of some 20,000 citizen levies 
and mercenaries. He was easily defeated by Hiero on the river Acragas. 
Subsequently expelled by the citizenry, he fled to Megara, in central 

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Greece, where he was put to death in 471. Peace was soon restored 
between free Acragas and Syracuse, a decisive step which saved the 
infant republic. Tyranny thus helped to bury itself. Following an 
exhaustive war against Thrasydaeus’ mercenaries, the citizenry finally 
forced them to evacuate their quarters in town and to withdraw to 
Minoa, some 32 km west of Acragas. A few years later the mercenaries 
were also dislodged from Minoa by a joint Acragantine and Syracusan 
attack. This spelled the end of the Emmenid dynasty and the beginning 
of the end of all tyrannies in Sicily. 4 

The fall of the Emmenids marked not only a radical constitutional 
change in the city state of Acragas, but also the dissolution of the entire 
Acragantine epicracy. This happened not because the new republic was 
anti-imperialistic, but because it was paralysed by its domestic troubles 
and unable to maintain control over its foreign dominions. The result 
was that two important subject towns, Gela and Himera, were gradually 
transformed into autonomous republican city states. Although Gela was 
already free when the Syracusans petitioned its help in 466, its citizens 
were still engaged in a protracted war against their mercenaries, who had 
withdrawn to such strongholds as Omphace and Cacyrium in the 
hellenized Sicel hinterland north west of Gela. Only after the liberation 
of Syracuse could the latter aid Gela in this struggle, and only then were 
the Geloans who had been deported to Syracuse by Gelon able to return 
to their homeland. Himera, too, was free by 471. Later on, Pindar 
joyfully invoked Saviour Tyche, ‘the daughter of Zeus the Liberator’ in 
his ode in honour of Ergoteles, a Himeraean Olympic victor, apparently 
performed in 466. 5 In 466 that city, like Gela, was able to aid the 
Syracusan revolt. Some exiles returned to Himera, while the local 
mercenaries left, eventually settling in the territory of Messana. 6 Recent 
excavations provide evidence of a new urban plan at Himera, which 
supplanted an earlier one. However, the chronology of the finds is too 
vague to enable us to verify whether the new plan is to be referred to the 
restructuring of the city state after liberation or to the Dorian resettle- 
ment of 476 (see above, p. 151) 7 . While Gela retained long after 

4 The liberation of Acragas was probably celebrated with offerings to Delphi (see the story in Ael. 
X/fri n.33). Before the final attack on Minoa, an Acragantine expedition against Crastus (an 
unidentified Sican town in the centre of Sicily, possibly halfway between Acragas and Himera 
(modern Kassar?), and allegedly the birthplace of Epicharmus) provoked a war between Acragas 
and her former subject-cities Gela and Himera (P. Oxj. iv 665 = FGrH 5 77 f 1), the context of which 
is hopelessly obscure. 5 See Barrett 1973 (h 32), 

6 This is one plausible interpretation of a confused passage of Justin (iv.3.1). On the settlement of 
mercenaries in the Messenian territory see below. 

7 The reckoning of the Himeraean era of ‘good regime’ in Diod. xi.49.4 is similarly ambiguous: if 
the right reading is 58 years (as in all MSS), the era must open in 466 (to end with the Carthaginian 
sack of 409); if corrected to 68 years, it opens in 476, the year of Theron’s resettlement, when Himera 
became a Dorian-Chalcidian mixed city. 

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M 6 

7. SICILY, 478-431 B.C. 

Fig. 7. Silver coins of (a, b ) Himera, didrachm and tetradrachm, 
about 465 b.c.; and ( 7 ) Aitna, tetradrachm, about 475-470 b.c. (After 
Kraay and Hirmer 1966(0 192) figs. 66-7, 53.) 

liberation the coinage types established by the tyrants, Himera rejected 
the Acragantine symbols and adopted new ones, especially a river- 
goddess pouring libation over an altar. A coin of Himera with a biga and 
the name of Pelops has been thought to celebrate Ergoteles’s Olympic 
victories (Fig. -jb). 

The liberation of Syracuse, like that of Acragas, had to await the death 
of her established tyrant and the revolt which his harsh successor 
provoked. When Hiero died in 467 his brother Thrasybulus seized 
power; Polyzalos must have been dead at that time. But Gelon had a son, 
next in line to the throne after Thrasybulus, who had to be awarded some 
governorship or command. His disappointment gave rise to a dynastic 
crisis. Wider discontent at Syracuse is ascribed to Thrasybulus’ violent 
character and to his execution or exiling of many citizens in order to 
confiscate their property. At last the Syracusans revolted, chose their 

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own leaders and seized the suburbs outside the walls of Achradina. 
Military aid, infantry, cavalry and even ships promptly arrived from the 
free cities of Acragas, Gela and Himera, as well as from pro-Punic 
Selinus and the Sicels. Basing himself on the fortified island of Ortygia 
and in the walled quarter of Achradina, Thrasybulus tried to resist with 
an army of mercenaries and a force of colonists from Aitna, but after his 
defeat on land and sea he was forced to leave with his garrison. He was 
given permission to retire to the friendly town of Epizephyrian Locri in 
southern Italy, there to spend the rest of his life as a private citizen (Diod. 
xi. 67-8). 

The end of tyranny at Syracuse precipitated the immediate dissolution 
of the Deinomenid epicracy in eastern Sicily. Again, as in the case of 
Acragas, it was not out of the love of liberty for all that the nascent 
republic of Syracuse assisted in the break-up of its own dominions, but 
out of the imperative need for loyal allies in the fierce fight for its own 
liberty. A general autonomistic movement spread from city to city, 
calling for liberty (rather than ‘democracy’), repatriation of the deported 
or exiled ‘Old Citizens’, enlistment of ‘New Citizens’ to swell the popular 
ranks, and redistribution of land. This programme appears to be a 
restoration of the status quo ante rather than an innovative plan. At first, 
armed violence raged everywhere; the garrisons and governors found 
themselves besieged in their own quarters and acropolis by the rebellious 
citizenries. Later, a ‘Common Resolution’ {koinon dogma) was endorsed 
by most cities, according to which the ‘Old Citizens’ were entitled to 
return and partial rights were conferred upon veterans and immigrants 
who had been naturalized in their respective cities by the tyrants. The 
garrisons on active service were required to leave the cities and settle in 
the territory of Messana, the only city in Sicily still governed by tyrants 
(Diod. xi. 72-3, 76). 

Five autonomous, republican city states grew up within a few years on 
the ruins of the Syracusan epicracy: Syracuse itself, Catana, Naxus, 
Leontini and Camarina. All started new issues of coins, usually rejecting 
types associated with tyranny (with the exception of the Syracusan 
quadriga, which gradually lost its former political meaning) and adopt- 
ing new types with gods or local river-deities. The republic of Syracuse 
was left with her own city territory on the south eastern corner of the 
island and with her colonial outposts at Acrae and Casmenae. The 
Dorian colony of Aitna was attacked by a host of armed Sicels under the 
leadership of Ducetius — the first appearance of this remarkable person- 
age, whose career we shall treat at length in the next section - in 
cooperation with a republican army from Syracuse. The Aitnaeans were 
ejected, and the original Catanaeans came back from Leontini, where 
they had been confined since 476. Aitna again became Catana, a 

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7. SICILY, 478-43 I B.C. 

Fig. 8. Silver litra of Camarina, after 460 B.c. 
( British Museum Catalogue oj Creek Coins Sicily 33.) 

Chalcidian city; the territory was delimited anew, with the Sicels 
recovering their confiscated lands while the returning Catanaeans 
redistributed their own portion among themselves. Clearly, free Syra- 
cuse preferred an anti-Deinomenid Chalcidian— Sicel population on the 
banks of the Simeto to a Dorian base of potential followers of a new 
tyrant. The ejected Aitnaeans removed to Inessa, a Sicel township on the 
slopes of Etna west of Catana (it is variously located in the area of Civiti 
or Paterno), taking with them the bones of Founder Hiero from his 
desecrated tomb. At Inessa a new Aitna grew up near the Sicel township, 
and some form of coexistence had to be worked out by both communi- 
ties, possibly more along the lines of the peaceful Chalcidian model than 
on the coercive Syracusan one. A coin of Aitna with the head of Selinus 
replacing the Syracusan quadriga on the obverse has been hesitantly 
attributed to the new Dorian settlement at Inessa. 

Naxus too must have been restored by its original population 
returning from Leontini. At any rate, Thucydides mentions that the 
town existed in 42 5 . A new urban plan, consisting of straight streets and 
long rectangular blocks with boundary stones at the crossroads, can 
plausibly be attributed to the resettlement at this time, since nothing 
about a Deinomenid foundation at Naxus is known from extant sources. 
Leontini, relieved at last of its surplus population of deportees, now 
looked forward to a new era' of prosperity. On the southern coast, 
Camarina was soon restored. After standing deserted since Gelon 
deported the population to Syracuse in about 485, the deportees and 
their descendants came back to their former houses and lands. A number 
of additional colonists joined the resettlement, and two new quarters, 
unearthed by recent excavations, had to be erected to the east and west of 
the original town to house the enlarged population. In 456 (or 452) this 
‘newly peopled seat’ had already become a town that ‘nourishes the 
people’ (Pindar’s words), boasting of an Olympic victor of its own, the 
first since 528 b.c. 8 After a period of twenty-five years without any 

8 Praxiteles of Mantinea, who calls himself ‘Syracusan and Camarinean’ on an inscription from 
Olympia (Hill, Sources 2 B ioo), vaguely datable in the second quarter of the fifth century, was 
possibly an Arcadian who settled first at Syracuse under the Deinomenids and then joined the 
colony of Camarina. For a different, and widely accepted, view of this inscription, see Jeffery 1961 (c 
I37) 1 60- 1 , 2 11 . 

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coinage, Camarina now started minting silver litrae, showing on the 
reverse Athena, the chief goddess of the city (a temple of Athena is 
among the excavated remains) (Fig. 8). 

Besides these eight cities, all autonomous since 466—461, four others 
should be mentioned. Two of them were never restored (Megara 
Hyblaea and Euboea), while the history of the other two, Messana and 
Selinus, developed almost independently. Messana remained united 
with Rhegium until the sons of Anaxilas were expelled in 461 under 
unknown circumstances. This was the last Sicilian dynasty to leave the 
stage after thirty-three years of rule. There are signs of Chalcidian revival 
at Messana after 461. The old city name Zankle reappeared temporarily 
on a famous tetradrachm (Fig. yb ), 9 and members of the old ‘Zanclaean’ 
population prospered again in the next decades, as shown in the case of 
two Olympic victors, Leontiscus and Symmachus, who were apparently 
of that stock. However, all this does not amount to a ‘rechalcidization’ as 
in the case of Catana. On the contrary, Messana remained predominantly 
Dorian, and may even have absorbed a mass of discharged mercenaries, 
including many Dorians from the Peloponnese, according to the 
‘Common Resolution’ (see above, p. 157). Even Anaxilas’ hares, the 
coinage symbol rejected by Rhegium in favour of its mythical founder 
Acastus, were retained by Messana throughout the fifth century. 

Selinus, as we have said, was a world apart. Lying within the Punic 
sphere of influence, the vicissitudes of its history in the fifth century 
appear to be almost totally unrelated to the main trends of Greek Sicilian 
history. In 466 Selinus sent aid to the rebellious Syracusans, a step 
certainly not unwelcome to Carthage, and soon started minting a new 
series of tetradrachms portraying the local river-god and the Syracusan 
quadriga. Relations with post-Emmenid Acragas eventually improved, 
especially after the mercenary base at Minoa was broken up. The story of 
how Empedocles of Acragas drained the malarial marshes around 
Selinus and was subsequently worshipped there as a god may serve as an 
instance of the friendly relations between these cities. Sporadic border 
wars coupled with intermarriage rights ( epigamia ) typify the kind of 
relationship prevailing in the fifth century between Selinus and the 
Elymian hellenized city of Segesta. 10 Generally speaking, Selinus pros- 

9 Two symbols on this coin have been unconvincingly interpreted on the lines of the symbolic 
crosses on the Union Jack: a ‘Chalcidian’ Poseidon holding a ‘Messenian’ thunderbolt, or, 
alternatively, a ‘Messenian’ Zeus wearing a ‘Chalcidian’ chlamys. See Lacroix 1965 (c 195)24—5 with 

10 A war between Segesta and Lilybaeum, dated in 454/5 by Diodorus (xi.86.2), has been 
transformed by some scholars into a war between Segesta and Selinus, on the ground that 
Lilybaeum did not exist before 396 (see Diod. xxii.10.4). The Temple G inscription from Selinus 
(IG xiv 268 = M-L 58) has been referred to this hypothetical war, although on palaeographical 
grounds it is datable at any time between c. 460 and 409. On the epigamia of Selinus and Segesta see 
Thuc. vi. 6.2. 

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7- SICILY, 478-4JI B.C. 

Fig. 9. Silver tctradrachms of ( a ) Messana, about 460 b . g .; (/>) Zancle, 
about 460 b.c.; (r) Selinus, about 450 b.c. (After Kraay and Hirmcr 
1966(0 192) figs. 52, 53, 186.) 

pered during this century and even expanded beyond the city walls over 
the northern Manuzza area, where aerial photography has revealed 
streets laid out on a grid-plan, though slightly differing in orientation 
from the famous sixth-century axial plan of the walled area (see CAH 
hi 2 . 3, 168 Fig. 28). Selinus was a mixed city. A well-known fifth-century 
inscription (M-L 38) recording a great victory over an unnamed enemy 
gives us some idea of the local pantheon, with its Megarian and Laconian 
deities as well as a Heracles who might well be a Phoenician-hellenized 
Melqarth. Perhaps owing to such non-Greek contacts, the art of Selinus 
was more inventive than elsewhere in Sicily. Its achievements in the fifth 
century are best illustrated by the famous metopes of Temple B, which is 
in itself a masterpiece of the new classical Dorian architecture. 

By the close of this revolutionary decade, the coasts of Greek Sicily 

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1 6 1 

were again dotted with autonomous city states, as in the late colonial 
period prior to the rise of the tyrannies. Most cities had now regular 
urban plans, either new or renewed, new residential quarters beyond the 
walls, and magnificent temples. Despite all the turmoil, the decade was 
also a period of growth and expansion of the new republics, and a 
significant chapter in ancient urban history. 


The autonomistic movement could not be confined to the urbanized 
Greek coast. During the years when the Greek towns were practically 
paralysed by intestine strife and political change, the notion of autonomy 
spread endemically into the rural Sicel interior where the indigenous 
population felt secure enough to establish an independent entity of its 
own and even to expand at the expense of the hellenized belt stretching 
around the heart of the island. In other words, the Sicel movement took 
advantage of the void created by the crumbling epicracies, and in the first 
stage also exploited the Greek cities’ need for allies in their own struggle 
against tyrants and mercenaries. At Syracuse, the moderate faction of the 
so-called chariestatoi (fair-minded) citizens apparently fancied for a time 
that Ducetius, the Sicel leader, might be manipulated, but, as soon as 
these hopes were banished and a more radical form of democracy 
prevailed, a joint effort with Acragas was made to stamp out the Sicel 
political entity. The Sicel interlude, though doomed to failure, lasted 
about two decades ( c . 461-440). 

Ducetius’ immediate goal in 461 was probably nothing more than the 
recovery of confiscated land in the vicinity of Catana. But the result was 
that a centre of Sicel autonomy arose in the redeemed land in the western 
part of the plain, between the slopes of Etna and the hills of Caltagirone. 
It was the traditional area of Sicel and Chalcidian cooexistence, strongly 
hellenized from Catana and Leontini at first, and later on from Gela and 
Syracuse as well. A couple of years later (459/8) two memorable events 
show the first signs of consolidation and expansion: the foundation of 
Menainon and the conquest of Morgantina. A hilly village named 
Menae, the birthplace of Ducetius (commonly located at modern Mineo, 
east of Caltagirone), was first enlarged and then removed to the plain 11 - 
a typical act of synoecism in a mountainous area, giving birth to a polis of 
Greek type, with Ducetius (the only occasion on which he is called 
basileus ) as its Founder. Then followed the conquest of Morgantina, an 
important Sicel township almost unanimously located on the Serra 

11 Diodorus may have referred twice to the same event, first as the foundation of Menainon (in 
459/8; xi. 78. 5), and secondly as the transplantation of Mcnai (vea? MSS, in 45 5/2; xi.88.6). 

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7. SICILY, 478-431 B.C. 


Orlando ridge (near Aidone). 12 Recent excavations have revealed the 
extent of hellenization in this site. Since about 560 it was a mixed town, 
with an acropolis (the hill of Cittadella), city walls and regular buildings, 
but no archaic temples of Greek type. Some Chalcidians and Dorians 
lived apparently in the town, but the population was predominantly 
Sicel, to judge from the evidence of burial architecture and funerary 
rites. Like a few other Sicel townships, Morgantina had apparently been 
reluctant to join the autonomous Sicel entity, and had to be annexed by 

The events of 45 9/8 can plausibly be viewed as the second phase in the 
growth of the Sicel movement as well as of Ducetius’ personal leader- 
ship. A third phase was inaugurated by Ducetius’ foundation in 45 3/2 of 
a sacral and administrative capital at Palice, an ancient Sicel site usually 
located at Lake Naftia (not far from Mineo). It is a volcanic site where in 
antiquity two jets of acid water shot high into the air from two craters in 
the lake. A temenos of two Sicel deities, called the Brothers Palikoi - 
probably personifications of the jets themselves 13 — had been built and 
used from time immemorial for worship, for taking solemn oaths, and as 
an oracle. More recent, and possibly of Greek origin, was its use as an 
asylum for runaway slaves. Near this temenos, Ducetius founded the Sicel 
capital. A town of Greek type, Palice was enclosed with strong walls and 
its surrounding territory portioned out among the settlers. Some traces 
of it may have been identified in aerial photographs of the so-called hill of 
Rocchicella (to the east of the lake), and parts of what might be the city 
walls have been excavated. They are poor remnants, indeed, of such a 
‘remarkable city’, as Diodorus calls it. Though only for a short time ( c . 
452—440), Palice became the political and sacral centre of a Sicel 
‘League’, synteleia or koinon, as Diodorus calls it. Of course, these two 
hellenistic federal terms could hardly have been current among the fifth- 
century Sicels, who in any case would have preferred a Sicel word. The 
hellenistic terms imply the existence of a compulsory state organization, 
mainly for military and fiscal purposes. A common Sicel army is in fact 
mentioned by Diodorus in connexion with the synteleia, and a number of 
so-called ‘barbarized’ coins, minted on Greek models around the middle 
of the century, belong to a number of sites, all within the autonomous 
Sicel area. The official raison d’etre of Ducetius’ synteleia was the notion of 
a ‘common peoplehood’. We are told, in fact, that most townships 
‘which were of the same people [homoethneis]’ , with the exception of one 

12 An alternative location in the area of Caltagirone has been suggested on the ground that 
Morgantina appears in the treaty of Gela (424) as a dependency in an area disputed by Syracuse and 
Camarina (Thuc. iv.65.1). 

13 Innumerable etymologies have been suggested for Palikoi , from the Greek one (n aXiv 
tK€odai = ‘those who come back’) already known to Aeschylus (fr. 6 Radt), to the more serious, 
Italic, ones proposed by modern scholars (see e.g. Bello i960 (h 49), Croon 1952 (h 55)). 

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Hybla in the region of Catana, were gathered by Ducetius into his 
synteleia. ‘Common peoplehood’ is not to be understood in racial terms; 
most townships were mixed anyway, and even the Sicel-Dorian double 
city of Inessa— Aitna was forced to join, after the local governor (Hiero’s 
son Deinomenes?) was slain in 45 1 b.c. 

In that same year the Sicel League was at its zenith; a year later it went 
to pieces. An uncontrolled, expanding Sicel statehood could not be 
tolerated by either Syracuse or Acragas, both of which had watched 
passively for a decade, and at times utilized, the growing movement. 
During the same decade, the moderate faction at Syracuse had been 
gradually yielding to more radical, democratic, and imperialistic, ele- 
ments - a significant change which should not be viewed as a reaction to 
the rise of Ducetius, who never posed a threat to Syracuse in any way 
comparable to that posed by Carthage at the beginning and the end of the 
century. Rather, this radicalization was a result of inner social and 
constitutional developments. When in 451/0 Ducetius laid siege to 
Motyon, probably a hellenized Sican stronghold then held by an 
Acragantine garrison, 14 the Syracusans joined the Acragantines in 
despatching aid to the besieged. In the ensuing battle Ducetius won the 
day, 15 and the Syracusan general, a certain Bolkon, blamed for the defeat 
and charged with having had secret dealings with Ducetius, was 
promptly tried and executed. But the following summer, a strong 
Syracusan army attacked Ducetius at Nomae 16 and in the fierce battle 
that ensued the Sicels were in turn routed. Most of the survivors 
scattered, seeking refuge in the surrounding Sicel strongholds, and 
leaving Ducetius with only a handful of followers. The Acragantines 
meanwhile reconquered Motyon. 17 This was the end; Ducetius begged 
for refuge at Syracuse where he was tried before a General Assembly, 
which, persuaded by the moderate ‘fair-minded’ elders, spared the 

14 It has been tentatively located at Vassallaggi, west of Caltanissetta, where an excavated site has 
an urban plan of Greek type, walls, an archaic shrine, terraced houses and a rich necropolis showing 
Rhodian-Cretan influence probably transmitted through Gela or Acragas. 

15 A bronze shield from Olympia inscribed in Ionic letters ( S EG xv 2 5 2) has been restored to give 
the meaning that it was dedicated from ‘the spoils of Acragantines and Syracusans’ (ZvpaKo o[tcov 
Kdt] ’ AKpayavTtvwv \d<f>vpa) by an unnamed victorious enemy of both who in the mid-fifth century 
could hardly be anyone else but Ducetius. However, the text could also be read as a dedication by the 
Syracusans from Acragantine spoils (ZvpaKoo[ioi awo] * AKpayavrlvtuv Xd 4 >vpa) and referred in that 
case to the war of 446 b.c. (see below). 

16 Nomae has been tentatively located on the slopes of Monte Navone (between Piazza Armerina 
and Barrafranca), mainly because the site is surrounded by several hilltops suitable for Sicel 
strongholds. One of the summits, Montagna di Marzo, has traces of a regular plan of Greek type 
identifiable by air photography, and graffiti (in both Sicel and Greek letters) on vases of Attic type; 
see Mussinano *966 and 1970 (h 61—62). 

17 Pausanias (v2$. 5) mentions a statuary group dedicated by the Acragantines after a war against 
Motya , and conjectures that the artist was Calamis (active in the first part of the fifth century). The 
suggestion that Motyon, not Motya, should be understood, seems acceptable, though it does not 
solve other difficulties aroused by the passage. 

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7. SICILY, 478-431 B.C. 

suppliant, and voted by acclamation to exile him with a pension to 
Corinth, the mother-city of Syracuse, on condition that he never return 
to Sicily. 

Without its leader, the Sicel movement was apparently immobilized 
for some years. But Ducetius’ story was not yet at an end. Contrary to all 
agreements, but undoubtedly with full Syracusan connivance and secret 
cooperation, Ducetius came back to Sicily in 446 on the plea that he had 
been instructed by an oracle to found a city at Kale Akte, the ‘Fair Shore’ 
on the northern coast where half a century earlier the scheme of a pan- 
Ionian colony under Zanclaean auspices failed to materialize (see CAH 
iv 2 762—3). A contingent of Greek colonists from mainland Greece, 
joined by Sicel settlers led by a certain Archonides, ruler of Herbita (a 
hellenized Sicel township, probably to be located in the area of Kale 
Akte 18 ), participated in the enterprise. Some traces of the original urban 
plan of the colony have been identified in aerial photographs of land near 
modern Caronia (between Capo d’Orlando and Cefalu). Founder for the 
third time of a hellenized Sicel polis, Ducetius became once more a useful 
and tractable agent of Syracuse. The whole Kale Akte affair, in fact, looks 
like a Syracusan plan to plant a staunchly loyal Sicel-Greek base on the 
Tyrrhenian coast, too vital an area to be left to others, whether the cities 
of the Strait of Acragas. Understandably enough, the plan created a 
furore at Acragas, which had, since the sixth century b.c., regarded the 
coast of Himera as its own sphere of influence. After charging Syracuse 
with blatantly permitting Ducetius to return, Acragas declared war, 
provoking a dangerous confrontation between two blocs of cities. As it 
turned out, the sole outcome was a single battle on the southern Himeras 
(Salso) river, won by Syracuse. Greatly encouraged, Ducetius was 
allowed to pursue his colonial enterprise undisturbed and even to make a 
last attempt at reviving the movement. But soon afterward (440) he died 
of an illness. The Syracusans then decided to revert to their old policy of 
subjugating the hellenized Sicel territory in eastern Sicily. One pocket of 
heroic resistance at Trinacie (presumably another name for Palice 19 ) was 
cleared out by a Syracusan army. The Sicel capital was destroyed, the 
inhabitants sold into slavery, and the choicest spoils offered at Delphi, 

,8 Herbita has been variously located on the north coast (at S. Stefano di Camastra) or inland (at 
Nicosia or near Gangi, in the mountainous area south west of Cefalu). A later namesake of this 
Archonides founded Halaesa Archonidon in 403 (Diod. xiv.16. 1—4), located at Castel di Tusa (on 
the coast, to the west of Cefalu). 

19 Trinacie, a Greek symbolic name possibly alluding to the synoecism of all Sicily as the final 
goal of the movement, is said by Diodorus (xu.29.2) to have occupied the ‘first place’ among Sicel 
cities, an expression well suited for Palice. In the ancient summary of Diodorus’ Book xu, iiri 
FIiktjvovs (scil. FI < aX > iktjvovs) refers to the Syracusan attack on Trinacie. Others read 
! 7 t<a> Krjvous or fli < a > klvovs, the inhabitants of Piacus, a Sicel site known from its late fifth- 
century bronze coinage and tentatively located at Mendolito, near Adrano, on the south-western 
slopes of Etna. 

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but no self-evident mark of the struggle and victory was left on Sicilian 
coinages. These were stirring days for Syracuse. Its old epicracy was 
coming to life again on an oblong tract of Sicel land, protruding to the 
north west of her own territory, from the hills of Caltagirone to the 
slopes of Etna. Most Sicel townships in this area became tributary, some 
of them garrisoned and others formally declared ‘allies’. Only at the very 
heart of the island, and on the northern coast, did an autonomous Sicel 
reserve survive. The Chalcidian cities on the east coast, which had 
become free thanks to the nascent republic of Syracuse a quarter of a 
century earlier, suddenly found themselves surrounded by a new 
Syracusan epicracy and reduced to the precarious status of an ethnic 

Ducetius’ movement, judged by its ultimate results, was an utter 
failure. Though born out of the ashes of the old Deinomenid empire, it 
became instrumental in the birth of yet another epicracy. Its transient 
successes were totally dependent on the silent or conniving support of 
Syracuse, and only as its puppet did Ducetius have a chance of achieving 
any degree of autonomy for his own people. By and large, Ducetius 
understood the rules of the game and worked within the given 
framework of the existing political powers; but he made his own 
blunders and his movement had no deep roots and feelings. Further- 
more, archaeology, numismatics and aerial photography have amply 
documented the high degree of hellenization and urbanization of the 
area affected by the Sicel movement. In fact, we may confidently state 
that without the full assimilation of the Greek notions of statehood and 
urban life, the Sicel movement would never have seen the light. 
Ducetius’ models were Gelon and Hiero, not Kokalos or Hyblon of old. 
Both attraction and resistance to Hellenic culture, assimilation and 
artificial revival of national traditions, interacted within the movement, 
among elites and masses alike. Thus, ironically, the Sicel movement’s 
most enduring result was the furtherance of Sicel assimilation into the 
cultural Siciliote koine of the late fifth century b.c. All non-Greek Sicilian 
vernaculars had disappeared as written languages by the end of the 


The three decades following the fall of the tyrannies were crucial to 
Syracuse’s constitutional and socio-economic development and its rise 
to the rank of a major hegemonic power in the West. After Thrasybulus 
and his garrison left Syracuse in 466, there was protracted strife between 
two classes of citizens, whom Diodorus (presumably following Timaeus) 
termed the ‘Old’ and the ‘New’. The ‘Old’ were the victims of tyranny, 

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7 . SICILY, 478-43 I B.C. 


excluded and dispossessed, mostly living in the suburbs outside the walls 
of Achradina, and some returning exiles. The ‘New’ were the elite which 
had been created under tyranny - veteran soldiers, 7,000 of them still left 
in town, immigrants from the Peloponnese, wealthy people who had 
been deported to Syracuse from towns razed to the ground (such as 
Megara Hyblaea and Euboea) and could not be repatriated. The ‘New’ 
had been installed by the tyrants in the walled quarters of Ortygia and 
Achradina and presumably assigned land in the countryside. The 
restoration of the ancien regime as conceived by the ‘Old’ citizens implied a 
thorough reversal of the situation, including the exchange of quarters, 
properties and political rights, a programme evidently unacceptable to 
the ‘New’. Entrenched in their respective quarters, ‘Old’ and ‘New’ 
citizens started a war of nerves and attrition that went on for years. In 463 
an assembly of the ‘Old’ deliberated on the establishment of ‘democracy’ 
and a cult of Zeus the Liberator, with an annual festival of Liberty. They 
also voted to reserve all magistracies for themselves to the exclusion of 
the ‘New’ citizens. A true civil war ensued, with blockades and attacks 
on land and sea. It was finally won by the ‘Old’ in 461, thanks mainly to 
an elite corps of 600 epilektoi. 20 At this stage some compromise must have 
been made, the ‘Old’ probably agreeing that the restoration of property 
be made by legal means and that the ‘New’ be assigned other land and 
houses in compensation. In fact, Syracusan courts became so busy with 
claims to confiscated property that the belief that Greek forensic oratory 
was actually born of such trials was seriously credited in antiquity. 

It was out of these changes that the new institutions of republican 
Syracuse — the General Assembly, the Council, the board of strategoi — 
took shape. Typical elements of radical democracy, such as sortition and 
payment for office, were never introduced at Syracuse, but a variant of 
Athenian ostracism, called petalismos, came into use for a short while, 
allegedly after a certain Tyndarides made an abortive attempt at tyranny 
in 454. Imperial ambitions were aroused along with the rise of democ- 
racy, as usually occurred in ancient maritime city states. In 433 two 
admirals, first Phayllus then Apelles, were sent with a fleet to the 
Tyrrhenian Sea to ravage the Etruscan coast and the islands of Elba and 
Corsica, 21 a reminder to all concerned that the new democracy was not 
loath to adopt Hiero’s Tyrrhenian policy. Then, in 440, Ducetius’ death 

20 Theories that this elite corps became later an oligarchic ‘council’ or vigilante cabal (see 
especially Diod. xi.86.5 on Tyndarides, 454 b.c.); a picked body of six hundred in summer 414 
(Thuc. vi. 96. 3, 97.3); cpiUktoi under Hermocrates in 413 (Diod. xm. 1 1.4); oligarchic synedrion of Six 
Hundred in 317 (Diod. xix.4.3, etc) are largely unwarranted. For a battle between Syracusans and 
mercenaries in the (otherwise unknown) ‘plain of Giaukoi’ (?) see P. Oxy. iv 665 ( FCrH 557 P 1). 

21 Whether Phayllus’ name should be read on an inscription from Selinus ( SEG xii 41 1) and 
identified with the Syracusan admiral is still a matter of dispute; see now Giuffrida Icntile 1983 (h 75) 
68—9 with n. 33. 

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gave Syracuse a golden opportunity to re-establish its epicracy on land. 
The next year the Syracusans were capable of building one hundred 
triremes, besides doubling their cavalry and increasing their infantry. 
Democratic Syracuse was rapidly becoming a major power in the West, 
as it had been under its great tyrants, an achievement that, at this point, 
did not even cost it very much, for Syracuse was now simply taking 
advantage of Etruscan decline, Sicel disorientation, and Carthaginian 
self-imposed isolation. 

Under democracy, Syracuse was on the verge of becoming the 
greatest city state in the Greek world and a centre of Hellenic culture. 
With some 20,000 citizens and a total population of a quarter of a million, 
Syracuse was a ‘megalopolis’ (Pindar’s term) by fifth-century Greek 
standards, ‘in no way smaller than Athens’ (as Thucydides put it), 
including a prosperous community of Phoenician merchants with 
vessels in port and houses in town, and a growing number of Etruscan 
and Sicel slaves. The four quarters of Syracuse — Ortygia on the island 
with its archaic temples, Achradina on the mainland opposite with its 
large and regular streets, Temenites outside the walls with its old theatre, 
probably built up under Hiero, and a fourth suburb, later named Tyche- 
were densely populated (see below, Fig. 40). The famous quarries north 
of the unwalled suburbs, on the still empty plateau of Epipolae, were in 
full use both for building stone and as prisons. 

Summing up the general situation at Syracuse at mid-century, 
Diodorus writes that ‘a multitude of demagogues and sycophants was 
arising, the youth were cultivating cleverness in oratory, and, in a word, 
many were exchanging the ancient and sober way of life for ignoble 
pursuits; wealth was increasing because of the peace, but there was little 
if any concern for concord and honest conduct’. 22 In this moralistic vein 
later Greek historians perceived the changes from Deinomenid culture, 
with its ostentatious architecture, court poetry and the politically 
innocuous comedies of Epicharmus, to a democratic, written and more 
sophisticated culture. With the remarkable exception of the choral lyric, 
an import from mainland and Aegean Greece, and comic theatre, 
literature and science made their first appearance in Syracuse after the fall 
of its tyranny. The mime of Sophron gradually evolved from Epichar- 
mus’ comedy as a genuine creation of Doric Sicily. The art of persuasion 
and the theoretical study of rhetoric, traditionally ‘first invented’ by 
Corax and Tisias of Syracuse, attained a high level of excellence thanks to 
the genius of Gorgias, a recognized master of his art before he visited 
Athens in 427 b.c. Finally, in the field of historiography, Sicily did not 
lag far behind Ionia. Antiochus of Syracuse, a younger contemporary of 
Herodotus active in the third quarter of the fifth century, was the author 

22 xi. 87. 5 (tr. Oldfather). 

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1 68 

7 . SICILY, 478-43 I B.C. 

Fig. 10. Silver decadrachms of Syracuse, about 465 b.c. (After Kraay and Hirmer 1966 (c 
192) figs. 78-9.) 

of the first continuous History of Sicily, beginning with the mythical king 
Kokalos and ending with the year of the Congress of Gela (424/3 b.c.), 
and of ,a great treatise On Italy. Writing in Ionic, the dialect of 
historiography at that time, his wide interest lay in the history of the 
Greek as well as the non-Greek West. Yet this new written culture did 
not oust fine arts. It was the Syracusan engravers working at the mint 
under democracy who achieved an unsurpassed mastery of sculptural 
design. The best known example is the first issue of a bullion silver 
decadrachm (Fig. 10), once wrongly identified with the gold ‘Damare- 
teion’ struck, according to Diodorus, immediately after the battle of 
Himera (see CAH iv 2 775 ), but now connected by most numismatists 
with the final liberation of Syracuse in 461 b.c. 

Acragas, the second greatest city in Sicily, continued to be the major 
rival of Syracuse. Its new regime after 472/1 was at first an oligarchy of 
wealthy citizens. An Assembly of the ‘Thousand’ was established and 
then abolished by Empedocles (by what authority we do not know) just 
three years after it had been set up. A less narrow oligarchy developed. 
Anecdotes about Empedocles, deriving in part from Timaeus, imply the 
functioning at his time of a Council and magistrates, the existence of 
factions, the plundering of public funds alongside the use of judicial 
means to prevent illegalities of any kind. But Acragas never became a 
‘democracy’ of the Syracusan, let alone the Athenian, type. However, for 
two generations, until sacked by the Carthaginians in 406 b.c., Acragas 
was an affluent plutocratic republic . 23 A recent calculation (De Waele 
*979 ( H 5)) puts t ^ ie population of Acragas in the fifth century at about 
20,000 within the walls and 100-r 50,000 outside, including Sicans and 
slaves. ‘A most beautiful city’, as Pindar called it, with its parallel streets 
23 See CAH iii 2 . 3 , 1 66, Fig. 27; CAH iv 2 777, Fig. 84, 

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Fig. it. Silver tetradrachm of Acragas, about 460-420 b.c. (After Kraay 
and Hirmer 1966 (c 192) fig. 170.) 

running the length from the slopes of Rupe Atenea and the acropolis 
down to the hill of the temples, Acragas was engaged for decades in 
erecting its colossal Olympieum, which was never finished. 24 Two new 
Doric temples, conventionally called the temples of Concord and Hera, 
rose on the southern slope, beside the four already standing on the 
eastern crag. No less famous than the temples were the monumental 
tombs (including some for horses which had won at Olympia), the 
artificial lake, and the luxurious houses and villas. Fine specimens of 
Western Greek art, such as the well-known ephebos and the recently 
restored warrior, fictile busts and lion-head spouts decorated public 
buildings and streets. The coinage of fifth-century Acragas is remarkable 
for its beauty and size, especially the famous tetradrachms with the 
original types of eagle and crab (Fig. 1 1). The economy flourished, in 
part owing to export of wine and olives, mainly to Carthage. But values 
had also changed since the beginning of the century, as Pindar noted 
when comparing the good old days with the more vulgar money-minded 
present. Tales of Acragantine luxury and effeminacy, of neglect of 
military duties, as well as descriptions of public festivals and great 
marriages abound and testify to the image of fifth-century Acragas in 
later minds. 

Letters and sciences flourished as well. Whether Carcinus, the tragic 
poet often mocked by Aristophanes, was an Acragantine by origin is still 
a matter of dispute; he flourished at Athens, and his son Xenocles 
attained the level required to win against Euripides at Athens in 41 5 with 
a tetralogy. Deinolochos, a comic writer, may have been an Acragantine. 
Music was the art of Midas, and later of Metelos, who became Plato’s 
teacher. A local school of medicine is represented by Acron, a physician 
and the son of a physician, and, of course, by Empedocles, by far the 
greatest representative of almost every branch of learning in post- 
Emmenid Acragas. Philosopher, poet, mystagogue and healer, Empe- 

24 See Pis. to Vol. iv, pi. 266 and pp. 1 89-90 here. 

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7. SICILY, 478—4 3 1 B.C. 


docks derived the fullest benefit from such visiting men of letters as 
Pindar and Simonides, as well as from the new open atmosphere which 
prevailed in the city and all over Sicily. He is in fact associated with both 
western and eastern philosophers — Pythagoras, Parmenides, Xeno- 
phanes, Anaxagoras — and their schools, thereby bringing to his native 
city some of the most vigorous intellectual influences of the time. A good 
citizen involved in local politics and remembered as a ‘democrat’, he 
wrote a long poem on the invasion of Xerxes, and Aristotle considered 
him the inventor of rhetoric. He in fact delivered, and possibly also 
wrote, many discourses on the most pressing problems of his day. A 
great intellect, and a peculiar mixture of mysticism and science, Empedo- 
cles was both venerated and dreaded by his countrymen; significantly, he 
was finally exiled from his motherland . 25 

Lesser cities, too, flourished economically and culturally. Besides their 
silver coinages, which have often been mentioned above, most cities 
now also issued bronze pieces to replace silver litrae for minor denomina- 
tions; this is in itself a sign of expanding local circulation. Himera 
boasted a Pythagorean of her own, a certain Petron, said to be of Dorian 
origin, but bearing a name that may point to the Sican (or Elymian) 
township of Petra in western Sicily. The school of Pythagoras of 
Rhegium influenced much Sicilian sculpture, and the Himeraean painter 
Demophilus became a teacher of Zeuxis of Heraclea. Leontini produced 
Gorgias and his brother Herodicus, a physician of renown. Another 
physician, and a disciple of Empedocles, named Pausanias, was a Geloan. 
Olympic laurels, which had been the monopoly of the tyrants and their 
capitals, were now won by the lesser free cities of Himera (five), Messana 
(two) and Camarina (two) — an accurate indicator of both change and 
continuity, considered in terms of wealth, life-style, and cultural values. 

25 Fora revised view of constitutional developments at Acragas, and of Empedocles’ role, see my 
article in Athenaeum 78 (1990) 483-501. 

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Archaic Greek art, with roots stretching back to the Geometric style of 
the eighth century b.c., had been concerned with forms whose effective- 
ness was judged not so much by the degree to which they simulated one’s 
optical experience of the surrounding world as by the degree to which 
their internal properties of harmony and clarity expressed an essential 
idea. Archaic artists did not so much imitate nature as create analogues 
for it. They did this by dissecting the components of natural phenomena 
into their fundamental geometric forms and then recomposing these 
forms according to principles of symmetria, the commensurability of 
parts. Works of representational art resulting from this process may not 
have looked exactly like their counterparts in nature, but they were not 
intended to. What was expressed by such familiar products of the 
Archaic style as the kouroi , for example, was more in the nature of an eidos, 
simultaneously a ‘form’ and an ‘idea’, than an imitation. Until well on 
into the Hellenistic period an interest in defining underlying structures 
through works of art, structures which evoked immutable ideas, conti- 
nued to be of great importance in Greek art, but from the fifth century 
b.c. onward this interest was increasingly combined with a desire to 
record a wider range of natural appearances. To a great extent it is the 
interplay between traditional idealism and a new empiricism that gives 
the art of the Classical period its distinctive character. 

Naturalism, the desire to represent both one’s actual sensuous 
experience of nature and also the social and physical setting of one’s 
everyday life, first played an important role in the Greek artistic tradition 
during the innovative era between about 5 20 and 480 b . c . The supplan- 
tation at this time of the self-contained perfection of mature Archaic 
Greek art by an experimental naturalistic style is most strikingly 
illustrated in Athenian red-figure vase painting. The simple shift about 
525 b . c . from painting figures in black to reserving them on a reddish 

Some account of the art of the Classical period will be found in the forthcoming Pis. to Vols. V and 
VI. In the following notes reference is made to easily accessible illustrations in standard works and a 
few monographs. See also Bibliography, Section i. 


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172 8<z. art: archaic to classical 

ground with only anatomical details painted in black stimulated, or 
perhaps was stimulated by, a new interest in the expressive qualities of 
single figures as opposed to those of a tapestry-like pattern made up of 
many figures. And with this intensified focus on individual figures in 
painting came a new concern for how they looked as they moved and 
acted in space. The invention of the technique of representing foreshor- 
tened figures by Greek artists of the late Archaic period was from both a 
technical and conceptual point of view one of the most profound 
changes ever to have occurred in the history of art. It marks the 
beginning of a long series of phases, lasting up to the twentieth century, 
in which the artist’s role as a recorder of passing sensuous phenomena, 
and his mastery of the means of making his records exact, came to rival in 
importance his role as a narrator of stories and ideas. In the works of the 
great red-figure Pioneers of about 510 b.c., such as Euphronius, 
Euthymides and Phintias, one senses the excitement that seems to have 
accompanied experimentation with foreshortened forms. As they strove 
to outdo one another in their attempts to capture particularly difficult 
views of the body’s movements in space (folded knees seen from the 
front, the bottom of twisted feet, etc.), naturalistic representation seems 
for a brief (and in the overall context of Greek art, rare) time to have been 
the principal aim of their art. 

What is documented in vase painting was almost certainly also true of 
mural and other forms of large-scale painting. Pliny ( HN xxxv.56) 
credits a painter named Cimon of Cleonae with the invention of 
katagrapha or obliquae imagines, almost certainly a reference to foreshor- 
tened forms. What little evidence there is for Cimon ’s date suggests that 
he was active in the late sixth century b.c. He may have been a metic who 
worked in Athens. 

Another aspect of the new naturalism of late Archaic vase painting 
was a gradual democratization of subject matter. Black-figure painters of 
the Pisistratan era, perhaps echoing the taste of Pisistratus himself, had 
favoured scenes from the world of myth and heroic legend. Their 
successors in the first phase of red-figure, by contrast, showed an 
increasing fondness for scenes which reflected the everyday experience 
of the average citizen, such as athletes in the gymnasium, music teachers 
with their pupils, and symposia. While many of these subjects, particu- 
larly those of athletes, may have been chosen in part because they offered 
opportunities for cultivating the new interest in anatomical detail and 
foreshortening, it is also possible that social and political changes 
contributed to their popularity. The overthrow of the tyranny in Athens 
and the creation of the Cleisthenic democracy may have created an 
atmosphere in which it was both desirable and profitable for painters to 

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depict the common man busily involved in familiar, unpretentious 
aspects of civic life. 

Still another feature of the move toward capturing familiar experience 
in art was an interest in conveying emotion through facial expression. 
The grimace of the giant Antaeus on Euphronius’ crater in the Louvre 1 
or the wince of pain on Patroclus’ face as Achilles binds his wounds on 
the Sosias Painter’s cylix in Berlin 2 herald a new category of artistic 
expression which was to be a major preoccupation of Greek artists for 
half a century. 

Because sculpture is a slower, more intractable medium that lends 
itself less readily to rapid experimentation than does vase painting, its 
naturalism in the late Archaic period is perhaps less obvious. Relief 
sculptures, which are closely tied to the conventions of painting, show it 
most clearly (e.g., the athletes’ base in the National Museum in Athens), 3 
but a naturalistic trend is also detectable in venerable forms of Archaic 
free-standing sculpture, like the kouros. Kouroi had always provided an 
opportunity for experiments in the representation of anatomy, but the 
purpose of early and mature Archaic kouroi was essentially symbolic and/ 
or iconic rather than naturalistic. The naturalism of the latest Archaic 
kouroi , such as Ptoon 20 (National Museum, Athens) or the Strangford 
kouros (British Museum), seems, by contrast, to be an end in itself and to 
clash with the rigid, 150-year-old format of the type. Abandonment of 
the type around 480 b.c. and its replacement by figures like the ‘Critian 
boy’ (Acropolis Museum, Athens), which allowed for the representation 
of internal movement, seems to have been an inevitable step. 4 

In one way the naturalism of the late Archaic period was distinctly 
untypical of the Greek artistic tradition as a whole. From the Geometric 
period onward every successive style of Greek art has regularly been 
disciplined by strict canons of formal order. Hence it is not surprising 
that the pervasive, free-wheeling but seemingly directionless humanism 
of the decades around 500 b.c. should eventually, in the Early Classical 
period ( c . 480—450), have been subjected to such discipline. Some cause 
seems to be required, however, to explain the particular forms which the 
new discipline took. That cause, in all likelihood, was the series of crises, 
from the Ionian Revolt of 499 to the battle of Plataea in 479, which 
constitute the Persian Wars. 

The conflict with the Persians, as Herodotus and Aeschylus make 
clear, was as much a moral as a military one. By restraining the 

1 Robertson 1975 (1 140) 214-30; Boardman 1975 (1 17) 29-36. 

2 Boardman 1975 (1 17) figs. 23, 50.1; P/s. to Vol. IV, pi. 149. 

3 Boardman 1978 (1 i8a) fig. 242, cf. 241. 

4 Boardman 1978 (1 i8a) figs. 147 (Critian boy), 180 (Ptoon 20), 182 (Strangford). 

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8 a . art: archaic to classical 

competitiveness and aggressiveness with which they had traditionally 
approached one another, the allied Greek city states had overcome an 
enormous and seemingly irrational power that had threatened them with 
extinction. The religious and moral significance of this achievement 
from the Greek point of view was most forcefully expressed in the Persae 
of Aeschylus (especially lines 807—29) where the Persians’ defeat was 
depicted as punishment for their hybris and the Greeks’ victory as the 
fruit of their self-restraint. Moderation and self-control, in other words, 
came to be viewed as divinely sanctioned virtues, and those who spurned 
them did so at the risk of divine vengeance. Morality became a matter of 
attitude as well as action. 

The sober cultural atmosphere created by this new moral self- 
consciousness had a deep influence on the art of the Early Classical 
period. It inspired a new simplicity and austerity of form, particularly in 
the use of ornament, which have led some to refer to the sculpture of the 
period as the ‘severe style’, and it also led to a strong interest in 
expressing states of consciousness and their moral implications in art. 
Further, the fact that the Persian conflict as a historical event, as a 
particular moment of time and change, seemed to have a deep religious 
significance and be important in some cosmic process, appears to have 
provoked a general interest in the significance of change, whether 
physical, emotional or historical. 

Nowhere are these traits more vividly and movingly exhibited than in 
the greatest monument of the period, the temple of Zeus at Olympia 
(470-45 7). 5 The austere, unadorned features of Heracles and Athena on 
its sculptured metopes have the strength and spareness of the temple’s 
Doric columns. Their style represents an extreme rejection of the 
decorative ornateness of Archaic art and of the Oriental heritage which 
was at the root of much of that ornateness. It was an appropriate, perfect 
style, however, for the serious, at times meditative, atmosphere of the 
metopes, in which Heracles’ changing states of consciousness, his 
weariness, anxiety and steadfastness, for example, are explored as he 
passes from youth to advancing states of maturity. 

In the sculptures of the two great pediments of the temple, the use of 
expressions of consciousness to bring out the moral significance of 
narrative subjects is developed within two particular categories which 
Early Classical artists (and the critics, like Aristotle, who later wrote 
about them) seem to have considered fundamental — character (ethos) and 
emotional reaction (pathos ). The quiet foreboding of the east pediment 
forces the viewer to enter into the minds and characters of Pelops, 
Oenomaus and others and to share the moral consternation of the ‘old 
seer’ (figure N) as he ponders their fate. In the elemental clash of the west 

5 Ashmole and Yalouris 1967 (1 5); Ashmole 1972 (1 6) chs. 1-3; Boardman 1985 (1 20) ch. 4. 

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pediment the civilized restraint of the Lapiths, in whom only a trace of 
pathos betrays itself in facial expression, is pitted against the barbaric 
abandon of the Centaurs in such a way that the moral clash of the Persian 
Wars is re-enacted in symbolic form. The west pediment also offers 
examples of another distinctive stylistic trait of Early Classical Greek art: 
the representation of physical motion by diagrammatic patterns of 
composition which, by isolating obvious stopping points in a particular 
motion (like the back-swing of a discus thrower), convey the nature of an 
entire movement. In ancient art criticism such patterns were called 

The features that give the Olympia sculptures their special force — 
surface severity, concern with change through time, study of character 
and emotion, clear definition of motion - pervade, naturally, other 
works of the period, either singly or in combination. An extreme of 
surface severity is apparent not only in original sculptures like the 
Charioteer of Delphi, 6 but also in what were apparently particularly 
admired works that are now preserved in Roman copies - the ‘Aspasia’ 
type, for example, and the ‘Hestia Guistiniani’. 7 Ethos and pathos seem to 
have been principal features of the paintings of Polygnotus of Thasos, 
whose elaborate Sack oj Troy and Underworld are described by Pausanias 
(x. 25-30).® On extant monuments character and emotion are captured 
with unusual vividness on the two great cups in Munich by the 
Penthesilea Painter, one representing the story of Achilles and Penthesi- 
lea and the other that of Apollo and Tityus. 9 In a sense almost all the best 
works of Early Classical sculpture and vase painting can be said to 
convey ethos through their evocation of an atmosphere of noble 
awareness. This quality is particularly apparent, for example, in the two 
bronze warriors found in the sea off the southern coast of Italy near 
Riace. Even though the original context of the Riace bronzes and the 
meaning of the group to which they presumably belonged are uncertain 
and debated, their embodiment of character (or perhaps two distinct 
characters) is unmistakable. 10 

The emergence of rhythmoi can be seen in the figures from the east 
pediment of the temple of Aphaea at Aegina (about 480 b.c.), 11 and their 
culmination appears in works like the bronze striding god from 
Artemisium (National Museum, Athens). 12 Exceptionally clear, almost 
textbook, examples of rhythmos are again preserved in Roman copies of 

6 Chamoux 1955 (1 44); Boardman 198} (1 20) fig. 34. 

7 Robertson 1975 (1 140) 191-3; Boardman 1985 (1 20) figs. 74—5. 

8 Robertson 1975 (1 140) ch. 4, iv; cf. Barron 1972 (1 9). 

9 Arias ct a l. 1962 (1 4) pis. 168—71; Boardman 1989 (1 21) fig. 80. 

10 Due Bronze 1985 (1 63); Boardman 1985 (1 20) figs. 38-9. 

11 Robertson 1975 (1 140) 165-7; Boardman 1978 (1 i8a) fig. 206. 

12 Robertson 1975 (1 140) 196—7; Boardman 1985 (1 20) fig. 35. 

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famous lost originals - the Tyrannicides of Critius and Nesiotes, for 
example, and the Discobolus of Myron. 13 In vase painting examples of it 
are abundant. 

All of these features can be seen as aspects of an effort to impose a new 
order, clarity and certitude on the experiments in naturalism that had 
characterized the late Archaic period. The severe style brought a 
canonical form of sorts to the desire for more ‘real-looking’ anatomy and 
drapery. Categories of ethos and pathos brought definition and signifi- 
cance to the raw, if powerful, emotional expression that was present in 
the works of artists like the Sosias and Kleophrades Painters; and 
rhythmoi imposed order and definition on the changing appearance of 
figures in motion that had so captivated the painters who invented 
foreshortening. In the sense that it marks a reassertion of the desire for 
archetypal forms that had long characterized the Greek artistic tradition, 
the art of the Early Classical period can be seen as a reaction to the 
naturalism of the immediately preceding decades. The range of exper- 
iences for which archetypal forms were deemed necessary, however, had 
been expanded. 

Because time and change took on a new significance in the Early 
Classical period, so too did the landmarks that mark the course of 
change, important historical events and personalities. Although extant 
monuments do not document the fact particularly well, literary sources 
make it clear that historicity first became a significant element in Greek 
art at this time. Actual portraits of historical personalities, especially 
political and military leaders like Themistocles and Miltiades, began to 
appear, 14 and the creation of at least one very detailed historical painting, 
a mural by Micon and Panaenus in the Stoa Poikile in Athens represent- 
ing the battle of Marathon, is documented (Paus. 1.15.3; Ael. NA vii. 3 8). 

After 450 b.c., with the Persian threat in full recession and the politics 
of Greece dominated by the long struggle between the Athenian and 
Spartan alliances, the spirit of sophrosyne, moderation, that had pervaded 
the thought of the previous thirty years yielded to a new intellectual 
climate in which the extremes of idealism on the one hand and 
pragmatism on the other were juxtaposed and often kept in a state of 
tension. The art of the High Classical period reflects this changed 
atmosphere. In one way it pushes forward the Early Classical period’s 
interest in the perception of change, and in another it reasserts the 
timeless feeling of mature Archaic art. 

The story of High Classical Greek art is for the most part the story of 
Athenian art, and it is in the great monuments of the Periclean building 

13 Pis . to Vol . 71 /, pi. 141; Robertson 1975 (1 140) 185-HS, 340-1; BrunnsSker 1971 (1 33); 
Boardman 1985 (1 20) fig. 60. 

14 Robertson 1975 (1 140) 187-8, pi. 62d; Richter 1984(1 133) 210-12, 166-9. 

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programme that the emerging dual nature in the art of the time is most 
apparent. With its carefully calculated sjmmetria, its pervasive 9:4 
proportion, the Parthenon carries on the ancient Greek quest to express 
formal perfection, to express a kind of eidos. On the other hand its well- 
known refinements take into account the uncertain, subjective, fluctuat- 
ing nature of sense experience. 15 Partly by compensating for optical 
distortion, partly, perhaps, by exaggerating the effects of curves, and 
partly by creating a tension between what one expects to see and actually 
does see, the refinements of the Parthenon force one to dwell on the 
uncertain nature of one’s own perceptions and to ponder the relationship 
between the ideal and the actual. 

The same dual nature appears in the style of the sculptures of the 
Parthenon, tentatively in the metopes, with full maturity in the frieze, 
and with a hint of mannered exaggeration in the pediments. 16 The 
idealism of these sculptures - the simple geometry of their faces, their 
serenity, the youthfulness (symbolizing timelessness) that pervades their 
forms, and, in the frieze, the bestowal of divine attributes on the ordinary 
Athenian citizen - has always been recognized. Along with it, however, 
there is a new manner of handling the texture and movement of drapery 
and hair which relies on indistinctness, on a sense of fleeting impression, 
for its effect. The clear, patterned forms of Archaic and the simple 
solidity of Early Classical drapery are replaced by irregular eddies, 
furrows and shadows. The flickering, transitory impressions that these 
forms make, like the effects of the Parthenon’s architectural refinements, 
have to be grasped and given compositional unity by the viewer, and his 
subjective reactions become the interpreter of their meaning. 

The way the Parthenon sculptures bring together two fundamental 
modes of perception, intuitive perception of the ideal and sense 
perception of passing phenomena, and hold them in harmony may 
reflect the influence of, or at least in a spontaneous way run parallel to, a 
similar dualism in philosophical speculation during the fifth century b.c. 
One tradition, characteristic of most of the pre-Socratics but most 
obviously of the Pythagoreans, accepted the perceived universe as 
having objective reality and adopted an essentially idealistic position by 
maintaining that its underlying truth could be demonstrated by math- 
ematics and geometry. A second, relativist tradition, developed among 
the Sophists with Protagoras as its chief exponent, argued that subjective 
experience is the only certain reality and that men’s personal impressions 
or perceptions were thus the ‘measure of all things’. That these 
philosophical currents might have had an influence on Pericles and the 

15 Dinsmoor 1950 (1 60) 164-9; Coulton *977 (* 5 l ) *08—12. 

16 Brommcr 1963, 1967, 1977, 1979(1 25-7, *9); Robertson 1975 (1 i4o)ch. 5; Berger, ed. 1984(1 
1 1); Boardman 1985 (1 20) ch. 10; Boardman and Finn 1983 (1 22). 

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8 a . art: archaic to classical 

circle of intellectuals and artists, including Phidias, who were associated 
with him is not entirely far-fetched, since Pericles is known to have had 
close contact with contemporary philosophers. (He was a patron and 
friend of Anaxagoras and on at least one occasion sought the advice of 
Protagoras.) In contemporary literature of a not strictly philosophical 
nature it is clear that this juxtaposition of idealism and pragmatism of 
various sorts was also ‘in the air’. It is at the heart of Sophocles’ Antigone 
(with something like Parthenonian idealism getting its most famous 
paean in the third stasimon), and it colours the picture of Athenian life 
that Thucydides puts into the mouth of Pericles in the Funeral Speech of 
43 1 - 

Although a fusion of idealism with a subjectivism that dwelt on 
passing impressions would always characterize Classical, and much of 
Hellenistic, art, it can be argued that, after the outbreak of the 
Peloponnesian War and the great plague, the balance tipped somewhat 
toward the latter quality. Capturing impressions seems to have become 
an end in itself in much of the art of the last three decades of the fifth 
century. In Greek painting, for example, a second revolution occurred 
which was as influential in its long-range effects as the invention of 
foreshortening in the late sixth century b.c. Graphic perspective (the 
illusion of spatial depth through the diminution of forms as they recede 
into it) and shading (the illusion of corporeal mass through the 
modulation of light and shade) were both developed for the first time in 
this period. Tradition attributed the invention of the former to a Samian 
painter named Agatharchus, who worked in Athens, and of the latter to 
an Athenian named Apollodorus, known as the skiagraphos (shader, or 
shadow painter), but other widely admired artists like Zeuxis undoub- 
tedly also played a role in the development of these techniques. 
Surviving contemporary monuments preserve only the barest hints of 
these achievements (vase painting, with the partial exception of white- 
ground lekythoi, could not be adapted to shading at all and only in a 
rudimentary way to perspective), but Etruscan funerary paintings and 
Macedonian tomb paintings dating from late in the next century 
document the direction in which Greek painting now began to move. 17 

In Greek sculpture of the later fifth century b.c. this fascination with 
the effects of impression comes out most dearly in the continuing 
development of the style of rendering drapery (variously known as the 
‘wind blown’, ‘flying’, or ‘wet’ drapery style) that had begun to evolve in 
the Parthenon sculptures. The style was already fully developed in the 
pediments of the Parthenon (finished 432) and underwent an increas- 
ingly mannered transformation, aimed sometimes at evoking a sense of 
excitement and sometimes at producing a soothing, elegant, calligraphic 

17 Robertson 1975 (1 140) chs. 4.VI, 6.iv— v, 7.1V— v. 

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effect, in monuments designed later in the century like the Nike temple 
parapet (c. 42 5— 420), 18 the Nike of Paeonius at Olympia ( c . 420), 19 and the 
frieze of the temple of Apollo at Bassae (r. 400). 20 

Vase painting in the second half of the fifth century largely loses a 
distinct stylistic development of its own and tends to mirror the reigning 
styles of the monumental arts. Artists like the Achilles Painter and the 
Cleophon Painter, for example, absorb the style of the Parthenon frieze, 
while later in the century artists like the Eretria Painter, the Meidias 
Painter, and others adopt the wind-blown drapery style. 21 Whether the 
painters who adopted the latter borrowed it from sculpture or whether it 
had an independent existence of its own in large-scale painting is difficult 
to decide, but the importance attached to the perfection of line and 
contour in the art of one of the major painters of the time, Parrhasius 
(Pliny, HN xxxv.68), perhaps suggests that the style had a separate 
development in mural and easel painting. 

What relationship, if any, this reigning calligraphic style in the later 
fifth century bore to the historical climate in which it was created is a 
puzzling question. Thucydides conveys the feeling of an increasingly 
dark era of Greek history, with war, plague and civil strife generating 
harshness and despair. Yet the art of the period conveys a feeling of 
carefree, airy, cosmetic elegance which can be paralleled in other arts (for 
example, the rhetoric of Gorgias, the ornate ‘new music’ of Timotheus 
of Miletus, and some of the choral hymns in the dramas of Euripides). It 
may be that ornamental elegance was not so much an effect of as a 
reaction to the temper of its time. The pursuit of fantasy as an escape 
from an increasingly threatening, oppressive and burdensome world has 
parallels in other cultures. 

The glitter of creations like the Nike temple parapet, in any case, did 
not altogether eclipse a more sombre side in the art of the late fifth 
century. It is there, as one might expect, in works of funerary art like the 
white-ground lekythoi 22 and a remarkable series of grave stelae. 23 The 
latter, judging by their style and high quality, were probably the work of 
sculptors who had learned their trade in the palmier days when the 
Parthenon was being built and who, in this troubled period, had to take 
whatever modest commissions came their way. The most striking 
example of a new subdued atmosphere, however, is found in the 
Erechtheum, 24 the last of the great structures conceived for the Periclean 

18 Robertson 1975 (1 140) 349-50; Boardman 1985 (1 20) figs. 129-30. 

19 Robertson 1975 (1 140) 287-9; Boardman 1985 (1 20) fig. 139. 

20 Robertson 1975 (1 140) 356-9, pi. ii9C,d. 21 Boardman 1989 (1 21) ch. 5. 

22 Robertson 1975 (1 140) 324-6; Bruno 1977 (1 54); Boardman 1989 (1 21) ch. 4. 

23 Robertson 1975 (1 140) 563-72; Boardman 1985 (1 20) 183-5. 

24 Paton et al . 1927 (i 122); Dinsmoor 1950 (1 60) 187-95; Bervc and Gruben 1963 (1 13) 182-6; 
Lawrence 1973 (1 95) 164-6. 

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8 a . art: archaic to classical 

i 80 

building programme on the Athenian acropolis. This complicated 
temple was still being worked on when Athens was compelled, at last, to 
surrender to Sparta. It was designed to house those ancient, mysterious 
and numinous forces which the Athenians in the heyday of the 
Parthenon may have been inclined to subdue or suppress but which, in 
their travail and disillusionment at the end of the fifth century, they must 
have felt it was important to placate. Along with the ancient wooden 
image of Athena and the altars and tombs of early heroes and kings, it 
enshrined, like a great reliquary, snakes, a miraculous tree, a miraculous 
pool, a sacred rock, and other holy tokens. For all its jewel-like surface 
elegance, the Erechtheum was really a shrine to the same irrational forces 
that haunted Euripides in the Bacchae. 

The foregoing analysis of the stylistic and conceptual development of 
High Classical Greek art is, as already noted, essentially an interpretation 
of the art of Athens. Given the nature of the art and literature which 
survives for study, this Athenian bias is inevitable, and it is natural to 
wonder whether such bias distorts our picture of Greek art as a whole 
during the second half of the fifth century b.c. What evidence there is 
from outside Athens (mainly sculpture from Olympia, Bassae, and the 
islands, and vase painting from Corinth and Boeotia) suggests, however, 
that this is not the case. It is known from inscriptions and literary sources 
that many of the artists who worked in Classical Athens were not 
Athenian citizens. Presumably many of them moved on after a time, 
carrying the style of Phidias and his pupils with them. In any case, it does 
appear that the art of other areas of Greece was widely, and fairly rapidly, 
‘athenianized’ at this time. The one artist of great importance who to 
some degree seems to have remained aloof from Athens and to have 
cultivated his own distinct style was Polyclitus of Argos . 25 His interest in 
developing a perfect canon of proportions probably had a closer spiritual 
link to the art of the Archaic and Early Classical periods than it did to the 
art of Phidias. But Polyclitus too was clearly an idealist, and if the 
seeming stylistic progression from his Doryphorus to his Diadumenus 
that one can detect in Roman copies has any validity, his idealism may 
have gradually taken on an Athenian cast. 


Artists as a group were never accorded the reverence and adulation in 
antiquity that has come to them in post-Renaissance times, and the idea 
of the artist as an inspired visionary, to the degree that it existed at all in 
the ancient world, belongs to late Hellenistic and Roman literature. Yet 
even when these facts are taken into account, it can still be argued, on the 

25 Robertson 1975 (1 140) 528—40; von Steuben 1975 (1 158); Boardman 1985 (120) 205-6. 

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basis of literary sources which deal with the careers and work of Classical 
artists, that the emergence of sculptors and painters as figures of some 
social prominence in the Greek world, figures who were appreciated for 
their intellects and strong personalities as well as their skill, first occurred 
in the fifth century b.c. 

A relatively early case in point is Polygnotus of Thasos. His 
widespread reputation is attested by the fact that, according to Pliny 
( HN xxxv. 59), the Amphictyonies awarded him free food and lodging, 
presumably in recognition of his remarkable paintings at Delphi. This 
was an honour normally awarded to such prominent figures as victors in 
the Olympic Games. He also moved in prominent social circles. Gossip 
preserved by Plutarch maintained that Elpinice, the sister of Cimon, was 
Polygnotus’ mistress and that he used her portrait for the face of one of 
the Trojan Women in a mural in the Stoa Poikile (Plut. Cim. 4). Even if 
that story was only gossip, it is very likely that he was a friend and 
follower of Cimon. Plutarch relates that he would not take payment like 
a ‘common workman’ for his paintings in the Stoa Poikile but did them 
as a patriotic offering to Athens (where he had attained citizenship), an 
anecdote that conjures up the picture of a man of pride, zeal, and perhaps 
also a certain amount of power. 

While Cimon’s patronage of Polygnotus is a possibility, Pericles’ 
patronage of Phidias is a fact beyond doubt. As episkopos of the whole 
Periclean building programme, Phidias must have become a man of 
considerable influence and perhaps also wealth. He was prominent 
enough to be the object of an attack by Pericles’ political enemies, and 
when this attack ultimately forced him to leave Athens (he was charged 
with embezzling gold designated for the Athena Parthenos), he quickly 
received the most important commission that a sculptor of the period 
could aspire to, the assignment to make the great chryselephantine image 
for the temple of Zeus at Olympia. In addition to being an intimate of 
Pericles, it is fair to assume that Phidias was on close terms with the circle 
of intellectuals whom Pericles befriended, Anaxagoras and Protagoras, 
for example, and that he exchanged ideas with them. He himself must be 
considered one of the prominent intellectuals of the age, and through the 
medium of his own sculptures and of those, like the architectural 
sculptures of the Parthenon, which bore the stamp of his influence, his 
ideas had a lasting effect on the ancient world and continue to be felt even 

Other scattered anecdotes relating to artists who worked somewhat 
later in the century also evoke a picture of prominent reputations and of 
strong, often contentious, personalities. The services of Agatharchus 
were considered so valuable by Alcibiades that he locked the painter in 
his house in order to force him to finish a work (Plut. Ale. 16). 

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I 82 

8 a. art: archaic to classical 

Agatharchus may have had as vivid a personality as the man who locked 
him up. He is said to have written a treatise on graphic perspective (Vitr. 
De Arch, vn.praef 1 1), of which, as already noted, he was considered the 
inventor. He also boasted about his ability to paint with unusual 
rapidity. His successor and apparent rival Zeuxis countered this boast 
with the sober declaration that his own paintings took him a long time, 
implying that the most obvious result of Agatharchus’ quickness was 
carelessness (Plut. Per. 1 3). Humility, as this anecdote suggests, was no 
more typical of Zeuxis than of the rivals whom he taunted. According to 
Pliny, ‘he acquired such great wealth that he showed it off at Olympia by 
having his name woven into the checks of his cloaks in gold letters. 
Afterwards he decided to give away his works as gifts, since he felt that 
no price could be considered equal to their true worth’; and he was so 
pleased with one of his paintings, a picture of Penelope, ‘that he wrote 
beneath it a verse which as a result has become famous: “You could 
criticize this more easily than you could imitate it”’ ( HN xxxv.62— 3). 
Equally flamboyant was Zeuxis’ contemporary and rival Parrhasius. ‘No 
one ever made use of his art more insolently than he,’ Pliny records, ‘for 
he even laid claim to certain cognomens, calling himself the “Habrodiai- 
tos” [lover of luxury] and in some other verses the “Prince of Painting”, 
claiming that the art had been brought to perfection by him’ (HN 
xxxv. 71). The verses referred to by Pliny may be those recorded by 
Athenaeus (543D-E), in which Parrhasius describes himself as the 
‘foremost practitioner of art among the Greeks’ and claims that ‘the clear 
limits of this art have been revealed by my hand’. Along with this kind of 
vanity and flamboyance, there is even a hint, if late sources can be 
trusted, of contempt for public opinion among the artists of the era. 
Lucian describes Zeuxis as reacting in disgust when people were dazzled 
by the subject matter of his Centaur Familj but were oblivious to the 
painting’s technical excellence ( Zeuxis 3), and Aelian depicts Polyclitus 
as taunting visitors to his workshop for their lack of sound judgement 
(KH xiv. 8). 

Even if these are simply amusing anecdotes invented in later centuries, 
they do point to an important fact about at least some of the prominent 
artists of the fifth century, that they were literate, self-conscious 
theoreticians who were concerned with defining and explaining the 
principles of their art. The foremost figure in this respect was clearly 
Polyclitus. His Canon, written to explain the system of proportions 
( sjmmetria ) which was the basis of the perfect beauty of his sculptures, 
seems to have been a quasi-philosophical work strongly influenced by 
Pythagoreanism. 26 The Canon was the most famous but not the only 
example of such a treatise. Ictinus, the architect of the Parthenon (along 

26 Pollitt 1974(1 128) 14-23. 

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with a certain Carpion, perhaps an error for Callicrates), is said by 
Vitruvius to have written a treatise about the temple (vii. praef. 12); 
Agatharchus, as already noted, wrote on perspective; and a number of 
painters in the fourth century also wrote about their art ( CAH vi 2 , ch. 
1 30). 27 The philosophical overtones that can be detected in the fragments 
and descriptions of Polyclitus’ Canon make it probable that the work was 
something more than simply a workshop manual designed to instruct 
pupils, and it is likely that this was true of other artists’ writings as well. 
Like Vitruvius’ De Architectural which is descended from them, their 
purpose, at least in part, was probably to demonstrate that the artist was 
an important, thoughtful functionary in his culture and deserved to be 
taken seriously. 

To a degree they achieved their aim. Many Classical artists, of course, 
laboured in obscurity and were no doubt thought of simply as craftsmen. 
This was obviously the case with those obscure but gifted sculptors who 
carved the frieze of the Erechtheum and whose names, otherwise 
unknown, are recorded in the building accounts of the temple. But when 
we read Isocrates, writing not in late Antiquity but only a few decades 
after the end of the fifth century, claiming that his own speeches had no 
more similarity to conventional courtroom speeches than the art of 
Phidias had to figurine making or the art of Zeuxis and Parrhasius had to 
sign painting ( Antid . 2), it is clear that these artists at least had become 
celebrities in their own time. 

27 Poilitt 1974(1 128) 23—4. 

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The Greek city was a creation of the Archaic period, in architectural 
form as in political, religious and social life. The fifth century was a time 
of continued development and of refinement. This was still strongly 
concentrated in the temple, and in the Doric and Ionic orders. In other 
elements of the city there was a good deal of what one might call non- 
architecture. Many activities took place under the open sky on a piece of 
ground demarcated for the purpose. The city centre, the Agora, was a 
loose aggregation of mostly simple buildings around an open square. 
Buildings specifically designed were slow in making their appearance 
and attaining a complete form. The ubiquitous and adaptable stoa 
supplied the deficiency to some extent. Houses were unpretentious; and 
though the best of them were well built and commodious, their outward 
treatment gave no architectural distinction to the narrow streets. Next to 
the major temples, the city walls were the most impressive works of 

Cities old and new were built on an endless variety of sites - around an 
acropolis or on one side, on a terraced slope, on a ridge or spur, headland 
or peninsula, on ground which rose theatre-like from a harbour, 
occasionally even on level or featureless ground; and the way in which 
the architectural elements were adapted to their setting varied enor- 
mously. Many old cities, especially in Greece proper, kept the irregular, 
loosely-knit form which they had attained by expansion, gradual or 
spasmodic, around acropolis, Agora or, on some sites, age-old shrines. 
Of course fine effects were obtained even in these, in general aspect and 
in siting of particular monuments, notably the walls. But we now have 
evidence to show that from the Archaic period onwards more deliberate 
planning, based on a rectangular pattern, was applied both in the east and 
in the west. In the fifth century we see in this art too a refinement of 
methods. Hippodamus of Miletus, who for Aristotle and others was the 
master city-planner, lived through almost the whole of the century. 

There was no dramatic change in materials and methods of construc- 
tion, such as might have altered the character of Greek architecture and 


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enlarged its scope. The use of stone for the main structure of temples had 
already been fully developed. Tools and equipment remained simple and 
even rudimentary; but this was compensated by extreme care and 
delicacy in handling, shaping and fitting. 

The blocks were laboriously hewn out in the quarries with pick, chisel 
and wedge (not by saw till much later) to the approximate size and shape. 
On Pentelicum they were slid down the mountain-side on ramps by 
means of sledges. Then they were loaded on strong waggons or 
occasionally rollers, and drawn slowly by bullock teams, which for the 
biggest loads comprised many yokes. On the site the stones were more 
accurately shaped; some finishing touches, notably the fluting of 
columns, were not given till they were in position and safe from serious 
damage. Curiously, in our period we do not find the truly gigantic blocks 
used in the colossal Archaic temples, nor monolithic columns except on a 
small scale. The architrave blocks, set on top of the columns, in the 
Archaic temple of Artemis at Ephesus and Temple GT at Selinus, 
weighed forty tons or more. Such heavy stuff was raised by means of 
‘ramps, levers and massed manpower ’. 1 By the end of the sixth century 
simple cranes were in use, but they would not take such enormous loads. 
In some major fifth-century temples the architrave consisted not of 
single massive blocks but of lighter slabs set side by side. Even in the 
colossal Olympieum at Acragas, the architrave, because of its peculiarly 
complex construction, did not require blocks of more than fourteen 

Marble was used on a bigger scale in the fifth century, for whole 
temples and occasionally other buildings. White or off-white marble was 
used; coloured stone did not come into favour till much later. ‘Stones 
white, sound, unspotted’ are specified in an Attic building inscription . 2 
Athens was favoured above all other cities in her plentiful supplies. The 
western cities in particular were at a disadvantage. For sculptural 
adornment, limited supplies were sometimes brought from a great 
distance or even transported by sea. For the sculpture of the temple of 
Zeus at Olympia, Parian marble was used; the temple was built of a shelly 
local stone, given a finish resembling marble, as were many temples, by 
the use of a fine white stucco. 

Most cities could draw on quarries of serviceable stone at a moderate 
distance, but the builders sometimes went further afield for a better 
stone; for example Corinthian poros was taken to Delphi. We find a 
variety of limestones in use, greyish or creamy or yellowish, neither 
extremely hard nor very soft. These, the common Greek building stones, 

1 Coulton 1977(1 51)48, 84; cf. Martin 1965 (1 106) 200-21. 

2 IG ii 2 1666; cf. R. E. Wycherley, BSA 68 (197}) $51. 

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are what can properly be called poros , though the term is not very clearly 
defined by our ancient authorities . 3 The use of very hard, intractable 
limestones, as found in the Acropolis rock for example, becomes 
comparatively rare in this period; the use of rough conglomerate, mainly 
in massive foundations, begins in the latter part of the fifth century and 
becomes common later. Metal — iron and lead - was used for dowels and 
clamps; iron bars were occasionally inserted as reinforcements for 
architraves. Roof timbers supported tiles of fine baked clay, rarely of 
marble. Baked brick was exceptional. The commonest material of all was 
still unbaked, sun-dried brick, used over a stone socle in all houses, some 
public buildings and even in massive fortification walls. Athens was a 
city not so much of marble or any kind of stone as of mud-brick. This 
does not mean poor flimsy construction. Unbaked brick is a very 
serviceable material, strong, durable and not unsightly if well main- 
tained, protected from the elements by tiles above and a coat of white 
lime-plaster on its face. Still, conservatism and economy in material and 
methods imposed limitations on Classical Greek architecture, bonds 
which were not burst until the Roman period. 

Much has been written recently on ‘the economics of temple build- 
ing’, though the evidence, largely from inscriptions, is far from com- 
plete . 4 Money and manpower set strict limits. At Acragas in the course of 
the century a series of temples was built; at Athens a great building 
programme was carried out in the second half of the century. Very few 
cities could build on this scale; most had to be content with two or three 
major temples, very seldom as large as the Parthenon, and numerous 
modest shrines. Commercial prosperity under enlightened leadership 
provided the conditions for ambitious building; some temples and stoas 
were victory monuments, to which the spoils of war might contribute; in 
good times pious, public-spirited or ostentatious citizens might be 
expected to make contributions. 

The procedure for bringing into being a great temple or other 
important building was normally as follows, in a democratically gov- 
erned city, or under enlightened tyranny. A proposal was passed in the 
Assembly. A small supervisory commission of epistatai was set up. An 
architect was appointed, sometimes more than one. Work of various 
kinds was put out on contract piecemeal; there were no great building 
firms who would take on the whole job. Specifications were drawn up. 
As regards plans and drawings, evidence is slight and not clear; probably 
at some points it was a case of solvitur aedificando, in our period. 
Peradeigmata or prototypes were made of elements which had to be 
accurately reproduced in numbers. As the work gradually proceeded 

3 Bradcen and McGregor, eds. 1974 (a 9) 179—87. 

4 Burford 1969 (1 40) and 1965 (1 39). On the epigraphical evidence see Scranton i960 (1 1 50). 

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there were annual scrutinies of the expenditure, submitted to the 

The architect 5 was no mere designer at the drawing-board but a man 
with practical ability and experience, an engineer. The closeness of his 
relation with the builders varied from site to site. The design of a temple 
was of course largely determined by tradition and convention, and 
sometimes by special circumstances; but there was still room for 
originality, for variation and experiment, for a constant striving towards 
the idea of perfection, in the proportions of the temple as a whole and of 
its constituent parts, in the relation of particular elements to one another 
in form and dimension, in the treatment of the details of the orders, in the 
use of the so-called ‘refinements’. The western architects had ideas of 
their own, more particularly in the Archaic period. Quite apart from 
certain buildings of exceptional plan, the great fifth-century architects 
such as Ictinus were by no means merely reproducers of a stereotype. 

The profession was an honourable one, practised by men of good 
standing and education, but our authorities seem to imply that it did not 
carry the prestige of the leading sculptors. Occasionally a sculptor 
performed the function of architect too. We know the names of some 
scores of architects, but are told very little about them. Remuneration 
was not very high. Some, we see in the inscriptions, were paid not much 
more than their best craftsmen. 

Of the workforce many were unskilled labourers; some were carters, 
and of these some were no doubt provided by the farmers who supplied 
the teams of oxen. Even at the lower level large hordes of workmen 
would not be available; the skilled workers in stone, wood and metal 
were apt to be in short supply, and few cities if any would have enough in 
more or less permanent residence fora big sustained programme. Work 
was intermittent, and in pursuit of it craftsmen commuted over a wide 
area. Athens was a kind of clearing-house, and so were the great 
international sanctuaries. Changing political conditions created compli- 
cations, with the result that work sometimes proceeded in spasmodic 

The Doric and Ionic orders, fully developed in the sixth century, 
attained perfection by the middle of the fifth. The simple single curve of 
the Doric capital then attained its most subtle form and so did the volute 
superimposed on the convex echinus of the Ionic capital. The Doric frieze 
of triglyphs and metopes was still ‘petrified carpentry ’, 6 though the 
relation of the classical ornamental forms to their structural prototypes, 
beam ends and so forth, is a matter of dispute. The junction of Doric 

5 Coulton 1977 (1 51); cf. Clarke 1963 (1 46). 

6 Lawrence 1973 (f 95) 99; cf. Coulton 1977 (1 5 1) 60-4, 1 30-1. On Doric design in general see 
Coulton 1974, 1975, 1979(148,49, 52); Winter 1976, 1978(1 180, 181). 

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1 88 


Fig. u. Plan of the fifth-century sanctuary of Aphaea on Aegina. (After Bcrgquist 
1967 (1 >2) plan 3.) 

friezes at the corners of a building created difficulties, solved by 
ingenious manipulation of the widths of triglyphs and metopes. Ionic on 
the other hand had problems with its capitals at the corners, where two 
adjacent faces required volutes; and this may have been a factor in the 
creation of the Corinthian capital, which avoided the difficulty by having 
four faces all alike. Corinthian was not a wholly new order; other 
elements remained as in Ionic. The invention was attributed to Callima- 
chus, the sculptor of the late fifth century who was called ‘katatexitech- 
nic’, a word which implies that he wasted his art on over-elaborate detail. 
Known to us first at remote Bassae, the Corinthian capital was still used 
in a somewhat tentative fashion, mainly for interiors, even in the fourth 
century, and finally came into its own in the Olympieum in the second. 

Of particular temples, one can hardly do more here than mention 
several which represent the norm and one or two which deviate from it 
in notable fashion. As a typical example of a well-developed Doric 
temple of the beginning of the fifth century we may take the temple of 
Aphaea (a local goddess associated with Artemis) at Aegina. The 
sanctuary was enlarged and given a more regular form (Fig. 1 2). Built of 
local limestone, the temple had a long cella divided by two rows of 
columns, with an entrance porch on the east consisting of two columns 
between the side walls and a similar porch at the back (without door); 
and a pteron , peristyle or outer colonnade of six columns by twelve (Pis. to 

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Fig. 1 3 . Temple of Zeus at Olympia, east elevation (o) and plan ( b ). (After Coulton 1 977 (1 5 1 ) 
figs. 43a, 46a.) 

Vol. iv, pi. 1 16). The great temple of Zeus at Olympia, built in the 460s, 
has a similar plan on a grander scale (Fig. 1 3). 

Athenian buildings, including the Parthenon and the Hephaesteum, 
will be considered in chapter 8c below. Meanwhile we may note that in 
some great Doric structures Ionic details were incorporated to give 
variety and mitigate severity. The Ionic style itself is seen at its most 
delicate in the Erechtheum; here the idea of placing a band of ornament 
round the top of the column shaft may represent one step towards the 
creation of the Corinthian capital. 

The great series of Doric temples in the west continues at Paestum, 
Selinus ( CAH iv 2 7 5 4-6), and above all Acragas. 7 At the last-named city, 
superb sites were found on the ridges to the north and south ( CAH iv 2 
777 ) ^4)- Most of the Acragantine temples were of normal type, with 

variations; but the Olympieum, begun early in the fifth century and 

7 Dc Waele 1980 (1 57) gives a careful study of the temples of Acragas and Paestum (1 58). 

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Fig. 14. Temple of Zeus Olympius at Acragas, west elevation (a) and plan ( b ). (After 
Coulton 1977 (1 5 1) figs. 28b, 29b.) 

never finished, besides being the only temple of our period which vies in 
size with the archaic colossi, was very unusual in form and construction. 
Both inner supports and outer columns were built into continuous walls, 
and on ledges between the outer columns were placed Telamones, giants 
who helped to carry the great weight of the architraves (Fig. 14) (Pis. to 
Vol. iv, pi. 266). 

Among western buildings of the late fifth century the unfinished 
temple at Segesta is of peculiar interest. It raises the whole question 
whether a peristyle could stand in its own right, without an inner 
structure; in any case it shows the structural independence of the 
peristyle. Of a possible cella there are only a few uncertain traces. 8 Some 
have suggested that the Segestans merely provided a handsome frame 

8 Burford 1961 (1 37). 

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for a very simple shrine, which may not have been that of a Greek deity — 
Segesta was the capital of the Elymi, a Sicilian community which aspired 
to Greek culture. However, the colonnade was built in the best tradition 
of Doric architecture, with refinements, and pediments were added; on 
the whole it seems likely that an interior structure was planned and even 
begun. The columns did not receive their fluting, and bosses for leverage 
were left on some blocks. We see on this site as on some others how a 
peripteral temple was built from the outside inwards. 

The chief architect of the Parthenon, Ictinus, created at Bassae, on a 
superb terraced mountainside in Arcadia, a temple of Apollo which, 
although at first glance it appears to be orthodox Doric, has several 
unusual features (Fig. 15). It has a north— south orientation instead of the 
usual east-west. The interior has two rows of Ionic columns, with 
unorthodox capitals and bases, engaged in short walls, with a continuous 
sculptured frieze above. The back end of the cella is marked off from the 
rest by a single column standing between the southernmost pair and is 
entered by a door at the southern end of the eastern side, thus forming a 
kind of separate shrine. A curious capital (Fig. 16), now lost and known 
only from drawings, is thought to have belonged to the single central 
column, though it is suggested that the column on either side of this may 
have had similar capitals. On an underlying moulding in the shape of an 
upturned bell, inner and outer volutes rise on all four sides from a ring of 
acanthus leaves. We have here the prototype of the Corinthian capital, in 
a somewhat tentative form. 

For reasons of expense few sanctuaries received large temples. More 
modest shrines still took the form of a simple cella with a columnar 
porch, as in the so-called treasuries, with the columns either in antis 
(between the projecting side walls), or prostyle, standing in a row in 
front. But of the innumerable sanctuaries found in any large city the 
majority had no temple at all. All that was needed was the demarcation of 
a piece of ground as hieron . 9 This was commonly done by means of simple 
marker-stones carrying a minimal inscription; such horoi have been 
found in large numbers and in great variety and were an important part 
of the urban scene. There might be a solid wall and it might have a 
propylon or columnar gateway. Every shrine needed an altar and this 
might be a plain stone or something more ornamental, perhaps set on a 
platform approached by steps — the magnificent altars which were 
elaborate works of architecture in themselves belong to a later date. A 
certain area might be designated as an inner sanctum, with its own 
entrance and limited access, the rest of the sanctuary being more freely 
available to worshippers. Some shrines had a third area one degree more 
remotely attached, and used for various purposes, athletics for instance, 

9 Bergquist 1967 (1 12) is still relevant for our period; further, Tomlinson 1976 (1 169). 

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I 9 2 


or even cultivation. We find a peculiar example in south-eastern Athens, 
known not from remains but from details given in an inscription . 10 In 
this sanctuary were shrines of the heroic king Codrus, and of a pair of 
ancient deities Neleus and Basile. Nothing is said of a temple, but we hear 
of ikrta , wooden stands presumably for viewing the ceremonies. An 
extensive piece of ground was leased to a tenant for growing olive-trees 
- a useful source of revenue for maintenance of the cult; and this tenant 
had the right to use the water from an even wider catchment area. 

When we come to sanctuaries architecturally more developed we find 

10 IG i 3 84; Wycherley i960 (1 185). 

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Fig. 1 6. Corinthian capital from the temple of Apollo 
Epicurius at Bassae, restored. (After D. Watschitzky, 
JOAI 37 (1948) 53 . fig- 5 ) 

great variety in component elements and arrangement, in accordance 
with the nature of the site and the requirements of the cult. The greatest 
sanctuaries, especially those which, though they belonged to a particular 
city, had assumed a panhellenic character and drew worshippers and 
funds from a wide area, attained a complex form in course of time, 
without a formal plan. They might include any of the following elements 
- an additional temple of the major deity, multiple altars, reflecting the 
complexity of the cult; shrines of associated deities and heroes, with 
altars or occasionally a temple; quarters for priestly officials; dining- 
rooms; store-rooms; ‘treasuries’ (small temple-like buildings commonly 
erected by particular cities); and, for a variety of purposes, stoas; all 
embedded in a wealth of sculptural monuments, dedications of many 
kinds. A theatre and a stadium might be added if the cult so required. 
Olympia had a large prjtaneion and a curious old bouleuterion, in fact all the 
elements of a city except the residential. Yet even this great sanctuary 
remained simple and open in plan in the fifth century (Fig. 17), 
dominated by the temples, the archaic Heraeum (in which Zeus too was 
worshipped), and the splendid new temple of Zeus. Handsome buildings 
for the use of the athletes and distinguished visitors were not added till 
later ages. At Delphi a comparable assemblage of monuments was 
differently arranged (Fig. 18). The temple stood high up on the hillside 
on a terrace. The processional way ascended in a zig-zag to the east front 
and the altar, and was lined with treasuries and sculpture. Above were 
yet more monuments, and the theatre, and still higher was the stadium. 

The stoa played a vital part in Greek life and architecture." Already in 
the Archaic period architects realized that the colonnade not only 
provided a useful and ornamental addition to a building but was also 
important as an adjunct to an open space - agora, shrine, gymnasium and 

11 Besides Coukon 1976(1 50) note Martin 1951 (1 105) 449-502. 

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Fig. 17. Plan of the sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, fifth century b.c. (After Herrmann 1972 (k 40) 
158, fig. in.) 


1 Corinth 

2 Athens 

3 Potidaea 

4 Bocotia 

5 Cnidus 

6 Siphnos 

7 Sicyon 

Fig. 18. Plan of the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, early fifth cenrury b.c. 
(After Bergquist 1967(1 12) plan 12.) 

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so forth - putting a roof over a limited part of that space and giving it 
ornamentation and partial definition. Archaic stoas were already remar- 
kably well developed and varied in form. Again the fifth century had 
something to add without introducing a high degree of elaboration — 
that was left to the Hellenistic period. 

The stoa consisted of a wall and a row of columns; the ends too were 
normally short walls or else a short row of columns; or the end walls 
might leave room for a column in front, giving a prostyle effect; or again 
they might make a return along the front of the building. The addition of 
a second storey belongs to a later period. The depth of the stoas varied 
greatly. Beyond a certain point a second row of columns was needed and 
the interior row could conveniently be made Ionic, contrasting with the 
outer Doric. Two-aisled stoas are found already in the Archaic period. 
We also have an early example, in the shrine at Delos, of the L-shaped 
stoa, a type which may have helped to suggest the pi-shaped stoa, and the 
more complex rectangular arrangements found, from the fourth century 
onwards, especially in the Ionian type of agora. The most effective way 
of creating a finished and satisfying architectural design out of a simple 
colonnade was to bring forward a section at either end of the front and 
give it a temple-like facade. The earliest and best example is the Stoa of 
Zeus at Athens, late in the fifth century (Fig. 29). It had few successors; 
for the most part the stoa remained a simple basic type. Sculptural 
adornment was applied very sparingly, but occasionally we find hand- 
some acroteria on the roof. On the other hand the stoas frequently served 
as the setting and background for notable free-standing statues. A few 
had paintings on their walls. 

Occasionally a colonnade was placed on either side of the central wall, 
giving the effect of two stoas back to back. Much more commonly rooms 
were built behind the colonnade, to serve as offices, dining-rooms for 
officials, or shops. The uses of the stoas cover the whole range of Greek 
political, religious and social life; and the same stoa might be used for 
different purposes at different times. In the case of the largest political 
and religious gatherings, including theatre audiences, the main activities 
would take place in the open and an attached stoa would be used as 
occasion arose. But a sufficiently spacious stoa could be the regular 
meeting-place of a court or council. Seats were sometimes built along the 
foot of the walls and rows of wooden benches could be added. Even 
stoas which were used for such augiist purposes were available between 
times as leschai , for casual social needs, for sitting and strolling and 
talking. And if the talker was a Zeno, the nucleus of a school might be 
formed. Some eccentrics more or less took up residence. Diogenes the 
Cynic, according to his namesake (vi.2.22), pointing to the Stoa of Zeus 
said ‘The Athenians have provided me with somewhere to live.’ 

In the above account ‘stoa’ has been assumed to mean an independent 

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free-standing colonnade. This is its usual meaning in ancient authors and 
it is probably best to confine oneself to this. But the name is occasionally 
applied to a colonnade attached to a major structure. Taking the widest 
significance, one might properly say that Greek architecture is decidedly 
‘stoic’ in character, if the adjective had not been appropriated by those 
who set up their school in the most famous of all stoas. 

Greek architects were not well equipped to provide roofed halls for 
very large assemblies. All they could do was to extend the principle of the 
two- or three-aisled stoa, introducing row upon row of columns, 
obstructive to movement and vision. The Telesterion or hall of 
initiation at Eleusis, repeatedly enlarged in the sixth and fifth centuries, 
was a building of this type; and so was the Odeum of Pericles (Fig. 19). 
The most ingenious and successful example was the Thersilium at 
Megalopolis in Arcadia, which had room for ten thousand; but this was 
not built till after 371 b.c. In due course the theatre came to be used for 
political as well as festal gatherings. The Greeks in our period had no 
equivalent of the basilica. Law courts met in stoas and other buildings 
not designed for the purpose or in an unroofed enclosure. A council of 
several hundreds could meet in a spacious stoa; but a fairly satisfactory 
bouleuterion or council house was devised by placing a small theatre-like 
arrangement within a rectangular hall which needed only four or five 
supports for the roof. We find this type already in the fifth century at 
Athens (Fig. 27), but it reached full development in the Hellenistic 
period. 12 

The theatre of Sophocles and even Euripides was still not a work of 
fine architecture but a simple adaptation of a suitable site (Fig. 19). 13 It 
consisted of three parts, the orchestra, the flat dancing-place - and 
acting-place; the theatron proper, the auditorium, normally provided by 
shaping a convenient adjoining slope; and, facing it across the orchestra, 
the skene, whose name, meaning ‘tent’ or ‘booth’, betokens its essential 
simplicity. All three elements even in the latter part of the fifth century 
were somewhat rudimentary and makeshift in form; only in the fourth 
were they given a truly monumental character and combined into an 
effective architectural whole. In the fifth century the orchestra was of 
hard earth — stone paving comes much later; in the auditorium ikria, 
wooden benches on wooden uprights, were used, though the provision 
of stone seating was begun; and the skene was a simple and adaptable 
structure mainly of timber. There may have been a low wooden platform 
for the use of the actors when dramatically desirable, but nothing like the 
later proskenion, a high stone-built structure. Renewed investigation in 

12 McDonald 1943 (1 100). 

13 Hammond 1972(1 73); cf. Taplin 1977(1 162) appendixes Band C. For a controversial view see 
Anti 1947 (1 2) and Anti and Poiacco 1969 (1 3). 

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Fig. 19. Athens, the theatre of Dionysus and Odeum, late fifth century b.c. (After Travlos 1971 (1 
> 71 ) 3 8 9. 54°-) 

the theatre of Dionysus at Athens 14 in recent years has led Greek 
archaeologists to conclude that the first massive stone scene-building 
was not erected till the fourth century, at the same time as the later temple 
of Dionysus, of whose shrine the theatre was a huge appendage. It must 
be freely admitted that the history of the theatre throughout is full of 
doubts and problems; in particular, under repeated elaborate reconstruc- 
tions it is extremely difficult to discern the form of the theatre in its earlier 
periods. At present we can only attempt to assess its place in the scheme 
of the city. Even though architecturally undeveloped, a great theatre, on 
a fine site, ingeniously adapted to hold an audience of many thousands, 
would still be one of the city’s most impressive features. 

Any place provided for people to watch a spectacle was called theatron. 
The stadium was a greatly elongated version of the type, such that the 
athletes could run a stade in a straight line; it was even slower than the 
theatre in achieving a fully built-up form. To the end the great stadium at 
Olympia consisted of simple embankments with stone seating for only a 
few. At Athens Lycurgus reconstructed the stadium in the fourth 
century, but one hardly imagines that even he provided seating on the 
scale later provided by Herodes Atticus. 

Being of such great length the stadium was normally located along 
with the cemeteries in the suburbs of the city or on the fringe. So were 
the gymnasia, which were originally extensive athletic and military 
training grounds, used in course of time for more academic pursuits. A 
gymnasium was commonly attached to the shrine of a local deity or hero 
14 Kalligas 1963 (1 86); Travlos 1971 (1 171) 537-9. 

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and contained shrines of Hermes and other appropriate deities. It usually 
acquired stoas, a simple bath-house and a palaestra or wrestling-ground. 
These last two elements could also exist independently — Athens is said 
to have had many palaestras by the end of the fifth century, used by 
sophists and other teachers as well as athletes. From the fourth century 
we find gymnastic buildings in the form of a handsome colonnaded court 
with rooms attached, and a simple version of this arrangement may have 
existed earlier. 

Aristotle tells us that the city wall should be an ornament as well as a 
defence {Pol. Of course the two things were not separate. A 
fine-looking wall was a crowning element in the architecture of the city; 
at the same dme it was a deterrent to an attacker even before its strength 
was put to the test. 

By the fifth century nearly all cities had an outer fortification, not 
merely an acropolis, citadel or strong point. An old acropolis might still 
form part of the defences, as an inner line or bastion. It was not 
indispensable, however, and a new town might have no distinct 
acropolis; but a dominant hill might be included in the defences to give 
them greater strength and prevent an attacker from occupying it. On 
some sites there was an acropolis in the sense of ‘high town’, even 
though it was not a separately fortified citadel. Outlying defences were 
sometimes provided in the shape of border forts, watch towers or 

The building of the city wall was the biggest job which a city had to 
undertake. Athens and other cities had boards of teicbopoioi who were 
responsible . 15 Architects were appointed and work entrusted in sections 
to numerous contractors. Constant maintenance and repair was needed 
and improvements from time to time to keep pace with advances in 
methods of siege and assault. This process continued energetically in the 
fourth century and reached its climax in the Hellenistic period. 

In this as in other things the Greek architects were glad to let nature 
build for them, and in planning the line went out of their way to take 
advantage of natural strength. Thus large areas not required for 
habitation or public purposes were sometimes included. The system of 
defence in the fifth century remained simple, with towers, curtain walls 
between, and fortified gates. Important gates were planned as dipyla, 
with an inner and outer opening, a small court between and towers at the 
corners. Complicated outworks were not employed in the fifth century. 
The highly elaborate defence-works at the eastern tip of the wall at 
Syracuse and a similar structure on the north at Selinus, formerly 
attributed to Dionysius of Syracuse, are now thought to be still later . 16 

15 Inscriptions provide much interesting evidence; see Maier 1959 (1 101). 

16 Lawrence 1946 (1 94) and 1979 (1 96) s.v. index. 

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0 10 20 30m 

« I I I 

Fig. 20. Houses at Olynthus, fourth century b.c. (After Robinson et al. 1929-46 (1 141) vm 
(1938) pi. 94.) 

Only the finest walls were built of well-shaped masonry throughout. 
More often there was a massive rubble core, embedded in clay. The total 
width varied considerably on either side of 3 metres. Unbaked brick was 
still often used for the upper parts of city walls; it was quite satisfactory 
provided that the stone socle was high enough to prevent attackers from 
reaching it easily with picks. 

The style of the masonry varies and does not provide a precise 
criterion for date. Polygonal masonry is still sometimes found in the fifth 
century. Roughly shaped stone (i.e., not merely in the core) indicates that 
the wall is of lesser importance, or hastily constructed, rather than that it 
is very early. Ashlar masonry, perfectly rectangular and well-smoothed 
on the face, was not entirely suitable for fortifications. A style which was 
favoured because while it had an elegance of its own, it gave the 
appearance of rugged strength, is what is called ‘trapezoidal’; in this the 
upper and lower edges of the great blocks are horizontal, but the sides 
depart noticeably from the vertical, giving an effect somewhere between 
polygonal and ashlar. The face of the blocks is commonly ‘rusticated’ - 
left somewhat rough, though shaped with care, or decorated with simple 
grooves and striations. In some walls the upper part is treated with 
greater precision than the socle. 

On many sites these great walls seem to be an appropriate extension of 
the rock on which they stand; on some they are the only immediately 
visible evidence that a city once stood here. 

In no department of our subject has the available material increased so 
greatly during the last half century as in the study of classical Greek 
houses. Most notably, at Olynthus during the 1930s a large part of the 
town was excavated, including numerous residential blocks in which the 
plans of individual houses were clearly preserved (Fig. zo). Except that 
they conform to a strictly rectangular street plan, one may reasonably 

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regard these as fairly typical of the houses of moderately well-to-do 
Greek citizens in this period. Each is about 1 8 m square and built round a 
small courtyard normally set in the southern part. There might be a 
simple colonnade on one or more sides but nothing comparable with the 
monumental peristyles of Hellenistic Delos. An entrance porch led into 
the courtyard. The space of the colonnade on the north side of the court 
was often extended across almost the whole width of the house, forming 
what was called a pastas, on to which opened the main rooms. In spite of 
the strict regularity of general plan, the arrangement of the rooms in 
individual houses varied endlessly. The principal room was the men’s 
dining-room or andron, which can sometimes be identified by its layout, 
with plastered floor and a raised border — most floors were of hard clay. 
Though the evidence is slight, we can assume that most houses had an 
upper storey. The material was stone for the lower walls and unbaked 
brick for the rest; and of course timber for upper floor, roof and pillars, 
and terracotta for tiles. 

This solid block of evidence is now supplemented by more scrappy 
material from other sites, notably Athens itself, mainly on the fringes of 
the Agora region, and from scattered sites in Attica. The Athenian 
houses were not, of course, uniform in size and they were apt to be 
irregular in outline since the Athenian streets were highly irregular; but 
in mode of construction and in general character they are similar to those 
of Olynthus. 

There were simple houses at Athens and no doubt at other cities, 
consisting of no more than two or three rooms huddled together. At the 
other end of the scale, the house of the wealthy Callias must have been 
better than any we know from remains; colonnades in the courtyard 
could accommodate sophistic seminars, as we see in Plato’s Protagoras. 

The old idea that the builders of the Parthenon lived in domestic 
squalor is not now tenable. Thucydides (11.65.2) tells us that some 
Athenians had comparatively costly establishments in the country. Two 
substantial farmhouses have recently been excavated, one between Mt 
Aigaleos and Mt Parnes to the north west, one at Vari in southern Attica 
(Fig. 21). 17 The former is of the late fifth century, the latter of the fourth. 
They are solid rectangular structures, not being subject to the vagaries of 
town streets. They are indeed more spacious than most town houses, but 
with no suggestion of architectural luxury. The basic plan is the same, 
with a courtyard of larger dimensions towards the south side and the 
principal rooms opening on it through a colonnade on the north. 

The common house-type could be adapted for various purposes, as 
inn, school or factory. The Prytaneum was essentially a large house with 
accommodation for official dining and the cult of Hestia, goddess of the 

17 Jones et al. 1962 (i 84) and 1973 (r 83). 

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Fig. 22. Houses west of the Areopagus at Athens. (After Boersma 1970 (1 23) 253.) 

hearth. 18 Here again we do not find buildings specially designed for their 
purpose. We now have a good example of industrial quarters at Thoricus 
and elsewhere in southern Attica, where the processes of silver-working 
were carried out, 19 besides the houses of marble- and bronze-workers on 
the streets leading from the Agora at Athens. 

The better grade of house in the late fifth century was not without 
architectural character, but this would be apparent mainly in the interior. 
The house presented a plain unadorned face to the street, with perhaps a 
simple entrance porch. The ordinary streets of Athens (Fig. 22) and no 
doubt of many old cities were notoriously narrow, mean and dirty. 
Surfaces were of hard earth, which might be fortified by layers of gravel. 
Stone paving was only used at particular points for some special 
purpose. Drainage and sanitation were primitive; the well-built and 
efficient stone drain which took the effluents of the Agora region at 
Athens to the Eridanus stream was exceptional. 20 

Domestic water was provided mainly by wells and by cisterns, 
commonly bottle-shaped, which collected the rain. Fountain-houses 
were constructed in public places, with spouts and cisterns, sometimes 
adorned and protected by a columnar fajade (Pis. to Vol. rv, pi. 195 ); 21 
these were fed by springs usually on or near the spot, rarely by long pipe- 
lines, still less by imposing aqueducts. 

Finally we must consider the art of city-planning. Though we now 
know that its origins stretch far back into the Archaic period, and to the 
western cities as well as Ionia, we can still believe that Miletus, and in 
particular Hippodamus, played an important part. At Miletus itself 
traces of rectangular planning have now been found in the pre-Persian 
city. Of Hippodamus we are told more than of most Greek architects — 

18 Miller 1978 (1 1 1 3). 

19 Musschc et al. 1963— (i 117) and 1974 (i 1 16); cf. Jones 1973 (1 82). 

20 Thompson and Wycherley 1972 (1 166) 194-7. 

21 B. Dunkley classifies types in BSA 36 (1935-6) 142-204; cf. Wycherley 1962 (1 184) 198-209; 
Thompson and Wycherley 1972 (1 166) 197—203. 

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he was a man of striking personality, with notable views on things 
political as well as architectural; yet we cannot precisely define his 
contribution to the art of poleodomike. Aristotle’s statement (Pol. n. 5 ) that 
he ‘discovered the division [diairesis] of cities’ is not literally true. 
Another word which is used of his work is perhaps more significant — 
nemesis, allocation. We can probably assume that he improved methods 
of working out a plan and adapting it to the contours, and determining 
sites for the different elements. Orientation, size of blocks, width of 
streets and so forth had to be taken into account; but above all the city 
had to be given that quality of kosmos which made it a convenient place to 
live in and which in Greek eyes gave it beauty. 

Hippodamus is associated with four cities which are of importance for 
our subject, Miletus, Piraeus, Thurii and Rhodes. There is no need to 
take Rhodes from him on the grounds of extreme old age; octogenarians 
have done great work in many fields. One may assume that he was born 
early in the fifth century and that in his youth he saw the rebirth of 
Miletus and was no doubt moved and inspired by the way in which a plan 
was created for the growth of a great city, with ample provision for all its 
elements, notably the Agora, even though centuries rather than decades 
would be needed for its full realization. ‘He cut up Piraeus,’ says 
Aristotle, presumably meaning that he produced a plan for the whole 
peninsula. We may assume that he did this job in the 450s, when he was in 
his thirties, under Pericles. He was commemorated at Piraeus in the 
name of the Agora, Hippodameia. The evidence for the plan of the 
harbour town is extremely scrappy; there are traces of rectangular 
streets, but not with the same orientation throughout the whole 
complicated site. 22 In 443 Hippodamus went to Italy with the colonists 
who founded Thurii and, though we are not told so, it is natural to 
assume that he took an active part in planning the new city. Diodorus 
tells us (xii. 10 ) that is had three streets running one way, four the other; 
and this can be assumed to mean main streets, with lesser streets 

Before proceeding to Rhodes, we may take a brief look at Olynthus in 
northern Greece, which, in the latter part of the fifth century, expanded 
enormously. The old town, on the south hill, was irregular, with two 
streets converging towards the northern tip of the hill and others 
running across. The new town occupied a much more spacious plateau 
to the north, with an extension on the lower ground to the east. Its 
rectangular plan represents a complete regularization of the informal 
arrangement which we noted on the southern hill. Long ‘avenues’ ran 
north to south, of which one was given added width at the expense of 
neighbouring houses. Numerous cross streets then divided the area into 

22 Judeich 1931 (1 85)430-56; Wycherley 1976(10 1 129S.V. Peiraeus) and 1978 (1 187) 261—6. 

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Fig. 2$. Plan of Classical Rhodes. (After G. Constantinopoulos, AAA i (1970) 55, fig. 1.) 

long blocks, each occupied by ten houses divided into two rows of five 
by very narrow alleys, which probably only served for drainage. 

Rhodes provides a climax. In 408 the three ancient cities of the island 
decided to build a federal capital. They had a superb site (Fig. 23), a 
challenge for any architect, on the peninsula at the northern tip of the 
island. ‘The city was founded’, says Strabo (xiv.2.9), ‘by the same 
architect as Piraeus’; and this probably means that the Rhodians brought 
in the venerable Hippodamus to provide a master plan. 23 Though 
remains are very scrappy, the overall plan has been largely recovered by 
adding to their evidence that of the medieval walls and streets and 
extensive features revealed in air photographs. A single unified street 
plan was applied to the whole peninsula, and excavation, though limited, 

23 Abandoning the view given in 1962 (i 184) 17,1 put the case forgiving Rhodes to Hippodamus 
in 1964 (1 1 8 5); Bums 1976 (1 4 1), in a very good assessment of the work of Hippodamus, concurs, as 
does McCredie 1971 (1 99). For further bibliography, notably the important work of J. R. Kondis 
and G. Constantinopoulos, see 1 129, 758. 

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has shown that certain streets were given additional width. The Agora 
was probably near the main harbour, the central of three, on the east side, 
where foundations of a temple of Aphrodite have been found. From this 
the ground rises gradually to west and south west, giving a theatre-like 
effect, till it culminates in a plateau on the western side of the peninsula. 
The stadium was effectively placed on the eastern scarp of this hill, with a 
gymnasium nearby; and the theatre must have been in the same area too, 
though only a small odeum of Roman type has been found. Temples 
were splendidly placed on the ridge above, looking over the town. 
Finally a magnificent wall, of whose foundations bits have been found 
here and there, surrounded the whole; this, as usual in planned Greek 
cities, took a course independent of the rectangular plan in accordance 
with natural features. Thus it contrasts curiously with the massive 
fortifications of the Knights of St John, long stretches of which take the 
line of ancient streets. 

We need not doubt that the basic plan under which this great 
development took place was that of Hippodamus. Though the extant 
remains are mainly of later date, it is very unlikely that there were two 
successive plans and that the original was abandoned and obliterated. 

We still know far too little of fifth-century poleodomike to speak in 
terms of general principles. Rectangular planning was normal, but there 
was room for freedom and imagination in its application for each site. 
Hippodamus is still an elusive figure. Perhaps we shall do him some 
justice if we think of him as Capability Flippodamus. He defined the 
possibilities of sites. He pointed the way and took the first steps towards 
the creation of the most beautiful city in the world (Strabo xiv.2.5, p. 

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When the Persians had withdrawn, the Athenians returned to find their 
city mostly in ruins. Rebuilding and new building during the rest of the 
fifth century fall into three phases, though these are not entirely distinct 
(Fig. 24). In the earlier years, concern was mainly with housing and 
defence. There must have been much refurbishing of shrines and public 
buildings; the erection of major temples had to wait. Several important 
but modest public buildings were undertaken, notably the Tholos and 
the Stoa Poikile. Whatever is the truth about the ‘oath of Plataea’ (see 
p. 206), by which the Greeks are said to have sworn not to rebuild the 
shrines destroyed by the Persians, peace with Persia (440 b.c.) seems to 
have led to the phase of far more ambitious temple building at Athens, 
including the great programme of Pericles. Already in the 440s there are 
signs that the Athenians had undertaken more than their resources 
would permit; in the next decade with the inevitable onset of war the 
difficulties increased. Yet even after the outbreak of war in 431 the 
impetus was not wholly lost, and the architectural achievements of the 
troubled decades of the late fifth century, though not on the scale of the 
Parthenon, are varied and considerable. The work cannot have been 
confined to the years of uneasy peace following 421, though these no 
doubt provided occasion for the revival of activity and the completion of 
abandoned work. One obvious difficulty in years of invasion or 
occupation of Attica would be transport from the quarries. 

For the most part we can only give general historical circumstances. 
Even at Athens precise dates and contexts are often difficult to determine 
and open to dispute and revision. Most of the leading figures of the 
century were concerned in some way with building. 1 But when a 
particular person is mentioned in such a connexion it is not always clear 
what part he played. He may have provided general inspiration and 
guidance, as Pericles undoubtedly did; he may have made a proposal in 
the Assembly, sometimes acting on behalf of a major statesman; he may 
have contributed money from his own resources. Through committees 

1 Especially Boersma 1970 (1 23), Even the Persian sack does not provide such a clear and agreed 
dividing line as one used to think. 


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and contracts many others were involved, and through Council and 
Assembly the whole people. 

After 479 the Athenians might have built a largely new city, perhaps at 
Piraeus. This would probably have been to the liking of Themistocles - 
‘He thought Piraeus more useful than the upper city,’ says Thucydides 
(1.93.7). Instead they restored the old city of Athens without any radical 
change of character. In the end they had it both ways; continuing to 
develop Piraeus as harbour town, they made it a complete duplicate astj, 
planned on modern Hippodamian lines. 

Inevitably the first concern would be the roofs over their heads. We 
have already noted examples of the houses they built. The streets of the 
old town remained, with a few special exceptions, narrow and irregular. 
Travlos computes that there may have been some 6,000 houses within 
the main city wall. 2 

The provision of defences was almost as urgent. Thucydides describes 
how the Athenians threw up their walls in great haste, in fear and 
defiance of the Lacedaemonians, incorporating gravestones and other 

2 Travlos i960 (1 1 70) 72. On the extent of the walls see ibid. 47-8 and 1971 (1 171) 158-61. New 
sections, constantly coming to light, arc reported annually in Arch. Dell. 

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Fig. z;. Athens, Piraeus and the Long Walls. (After Boersma 1970 (1 23) 157.) 

miscellaneous material. In spite of this, the walls were powerful enough, 
constructed in the technique described above, with unbaked brick on a 
stone socle. ‘The peribolos [circuit] was extended in all directions,’ says 
Thucydides (1.93.2); this implies an early outer city wall, but because of 
the lack of archaeological remains the very existence of this is still 
disputed. By contrast, the line of the Themistoclean wall can now be 
determined with great precision. It enclosed a large area on all sides of 
the Acropolis, taking in some outlying communities or suburbs. There 
were over a dozen gates; the main entrance, the great Dipylon or double 
gate on the north west, took its characteristic form at this time, and some 
other important gates were similar but simpler. The fortification of 
Piraeus, begun earlier by Themistocles, proceeded more deliberately; 
but though Thucydides says that the wall was built of stone masonry 
throughout, the scanty remains show that this was so only in certain 
sections. Lastly, towards the middle of the century, the two circuits were 
joined into a great defensive system by the Long Walls (Fig. 25). First, 
two legs were built, one running west-south-west to Piraeus, the other 
south west to Phalerum. A third, closely parallel to the first, was added 

What happened on the Acropolis in the earlier phase is not clear. It is 
commonly believed that in place of the great archaic temple of Athena a 

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simple makeshift shrine — cella or treasury — was contrived; full 
reparation was not made till late in the century. On the more southerly 
site, where the Parthenon was to stand, work on a large Doric temple 
was rudely interrupted by the Persians and probably not renewed on a 
big scale till after the middle of the century. 3 Architectural members 
from the temples badly damaged by the Persians were incorporated in 
the reconstructed north wall of the Acropolis to serve as a kind of 
memorial of the destruction. From about 460 the western part of the hill 
was dominated by Phidias’ colossal bronze Athena Promachos. 

On the site of Athens’ largest temple, the Olympieum to the south 
east, construction had been abandoned after the fall of the tyrants, partly 
because the project was associated with their hated names, and partly, we 
can imagine, because it was too grandiose for the resources of the city. 
Great column drums, intended for the temple, were built into the 
Themistoclean city wall near by. The cult was carried on of course, and 
we have to assume some makeshift arrangement; it was to be several 
centuries before large-scale construction was resumed and completed, 
under royal and imperial patronage. 

In the Agora the altar of the Twelve Gods (CAH iv 2 296) continued 
to be a main focus of religious life, but it was not given a handsome new 
form till late in the century. The temples on the west side, of Apollo 
Patroos and the Mother of the Gods, were not replaced by new shrines 
till much later, even though Calamis produced a notable new statue for 
Apollo and Phidias for the Mother. 

A curious example of the deisidaimonia of the Athenians, their 
scrupulous piety in small matters as in great, can be seen in the middle of 
the Agora. On this spot the cult of an unnamed hero must have existed 
from an early date. Now the miscellaneous small offerings were carefully 
gathered together and placed in a receptacle specially prepared for the 
purpose, a circular pit constructed of reused blocks. 4 

Some distance west of the Agora, on the street leading to the Piraeus 
Gate, remains of a shrine were found a few years ago, consisting of a 
temple and an altar in an enclosure. An inscription shows that it 
belonged to Artemis, and it is a reasonable assumption that it is the 
shrine of Artemis Aristoboule (giver of best counsel), founded by 
Themistocles near his house in the deme Melite (Fig. 26). The temple is 
very simple and small, a square cella with projecting side walls forming a 
porch. The remains belong chiefly to what appears to be a fourth-century 

3 Carpenter 1970(1 4 2) has a building phase under Cimon. Bundgaard 1976(1 36) ch. 8 makes the 
predecessor of the Periclean Parthenon post-Persian. Neither of these ideas has won much support. 
Cf. also Knell 1979 (1 90) 6— 1 1. 

4 Thompson 1958 (1 163) 1 48—5 3. For this and comparable features see Thompson and 
Wycherley 1972 (1 166) 199-21. 

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2 10 


Fig. 26. Sanctuary of Artemis Aristoboule, Athens. (After Travlos 1971 (1 171) 122, fig. 

reconstruction. No doubt Themistocles would think of the shrine as a 
kind of victory monument; Plutarch {Them. 22.1) says that the people 
were offended by his presumption in founding it himself. 5 

In various ways the Athenians celebrated their great victories in 
monumental fashion. The prompt replacement of the statues of Harmo- 
dius and Aristogeiton, which the Persians had carried off from the 
Agora, by a new pair made by Critius and Nesiotes, may be seen in this 
light {Pis. to Vol. iv, pi. 1 41). Cimon, besides restoring the shrine of 
Theseus, after defeating the Persians at Ei'on in Thrace in 476/5, 
dedicated three Herms in a stoa {Aisch. 111.183— 5; above, pp. 41-2). 6 
Nothing has been found of this building, but there is reason to believe 
that it stood on the north side of the Agora, in the same region as the 
much more famous and splendid Poikile or Painted Porch. To this a 
number of architectural fragments have been attributed, and recently a 
little of the foundation has been found and identified with probability. 7 
The stoa has been dated about 460 b.c., and this would agree with our 
knowledge of the artists concerned. It also bore the name Peisianakteios, 
after one Peisianax, an associate of Cimon, connected with the building 
in some way which we cannot define. Pausanias (1.1 5) describes the great 

5 Threpsiades and Vanderpool 1965 (1 f 68); Amandry 1967 (1 1). 

6 For this elusive monument see Threpsiades and Vanderpool 1963 (1 167); Wycherley 1957 (1 
182) 103-8; Thompson and Wycherley 1972 (1 166) 9 4—6. 

7 H. A. Thompson, Hesperia 19 (1950) 20—35; Meritt 1970 (1 109); Thompson and Wycherley 
1972 (1 166) 90-4; T. L. Shear, Hesperia 53 (1984) 5—19. 

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21 I 

paintings — a contemporary battle of Athenians and Lacedaemonians 
at Oenoe in Argive territory (above, p. 117 n. 77); Theseus and the 
Amazons; the capture of Troy; and, most famous of all. Marathon. The 
arrangement of the pictures, which were probably painted on boards 
affixed to the walls, is disputed. The most notable artists of the day were 
employed, Micon for the Amazons, Polygnotus, the greatest of all, for 
T roy, and Polygnotus or Panaenus or Micon — our authorities differ — for 
Marathon. Standing in the Agora, readily visible to all, the paintings 
were amongst the most renowned and conspicuous sights of Athens. 
The stoa played a great and varied part in the life of the city. It served as 
picture gallery, lesche (lounge for meeting and talking), occasionally law 
court, eventually philosophical seminar. In it was an altar — we do not 
know of what deity. Most public buildings had religious associations 
and housed some cult or other. 

In the time of Cimon and even Pericles the official buildings, 
concentrated in the Agora, remained architecturally unpretentious (Fig. 
27). In the sixth and early fifth centuries the Athenians had endeavoured 
to make modest provision for the instruments of government, especially 
in the time of Cleisthenes. One may assume that some of the old 
buildings were refurbished and continued in use, notably the basileios, a 
stoa of modest size and basic type, with interior columns, at the north 
end of the west side, used by the archon who retained the title of basileus, 
king, and for the display of copies of laws inscribed on stone; and the 
‘Old Bouleuterion’ or Council House, a square hall towards the south 
end of the west side, spacious enough to hold the Council of Five 
Hundred in a kind of covered theatre. Late in the fifth century a ‘New 
Bouleuterion’ was added immediately to the west; and henceforth the 
old building and the new between them must have accommodated the 
Council, the archives, and the associated shrine of the Mother of the 
Gods (see also above, pp. 79—80). 

By contrast, the rambling old building like a large house at the south 
corner, thought to have been occupied by officials and committees, was 
replaced after a few years by a compact circular structure with a conical 
roof and six interior supports; the irregular form of the old building was 
still apparent in the shape of the precinct in which its successor stood. We 
have here one monument whose identification is absolute and not 
surmised; no one doubts that this was the Tholos or Skias, where the 
prjtaneis , the committee of fifty, deliberated and dined, and official 
weights and measures were kept. With it was associated a cult of 
Artemis. The Tholos was at the very heart of Athenian life; and with 
repeated refurbishing retained its peculiar and unexplained form 
throughout antiquity. 

Another pre-Persian building which long remained in being is the 

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Fig. 27. Plan of the Athenian Agora at the end of the fifth century b.c. Courtesy of the American 
School of Classical Studies. 

large well-built square enclosure at the west end of the south side, which 
is very reasonably supposed to have been used by a principal law court. 
The democratic courts were a dominant element in Athenian life in our 
period, and one might have expected to find buildings specifically 
designed and handsomely constructed in keeping with their dignity; but 
in fact arrangements remained simple and even makeshift. Not only the 
Poikile but even the Odeum or music-hall built under Pericles was 
pressed into service. We hear in various contexts of what is called 
perischionisma or the roping-off of a more or less suitable area . 8 In the 
latter part of the century another rectangular enclosure, less solid in 
construction, shown to have been a law court by the discovery of 

8 Wycherley 1957 (f 182) 165-4; Thompson and Wycherley 1972 (1 166) 34, 50, 87, 130, 159. 

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forensic paraphernalia in a room attached to it, was built in the north- 
eastern sector of the Agora. This, and another added to it later, were to 
be replaced in the fourth century - perhaps in the time of Lycurgus, who 
devoted much attention to the architectural improvement of various 
public buildings — by a large peristyle court. Simplicity of form and lack 
of a specific design make it more difficult to recognize the remains of law 
courts even when they are unearthed. 

The ecclesia continued to meet in a kind of primitive theatre on the 
slope of the Pnyx hill to the south west of the Agora. Towards the end of 
the fifth century, surprisingly, the auditorium was reconstructed by 
means of an embankment with a slope which ran contrary to the natural 
contours. The Assembly clung to this spot and, except for particular 
occasions, it was to be long before they fully realized the advantages of 
meeting in the theatre of Dionysus. 

The old South-east Fountain House, a rectangular building with 
basins at either end and columns in the middle section of the north side, 
continued to provide the main supply of water for the Agora area. 9 It was 
not till early in the fourth century that it was supplemented by the 
architecturally more impressive South-west Fountain House, with an L- 
shaped columnar facade, fed by the same underground aqueduct which 
brought water from sources to the east of the city. 

In the time of Pericles the Agora was still a spacious open square, with 
buildings of modest character loosely distributed along the edges. In the 
latter part of the century two large stoas were built on the west and south 
sides; but they were quite different from one another and did not go far 
towards giving the Agora any unity or completeness of plan. 

The long south stoa had a double Doric colonnade and a row of rooms 
behind. It was built of limestone, with unbaked brick, of which a little 
has survived, in the upper part of the walls. There is evidence that the 
rooms were designed as offices and dining-rooms for some of the 
numerous boards of magistrates. Till we come to this building, magis- 
trates’ offices too are difficult to identify, since they have no readily 
recognizable characteristics. Two buildings to the south west of the 
Agora, dated in the middle of the fifth century, both comprise a long 
quadrilateral with a courtyard at one end and a row of rooms on either 
side of a corridor at the other. One has been very tentatively called 
strategion and assigned to the board of ten generals; the other too was at 
one time thought to contain magistrates’ offices, but on various evidence 
a good case has now been made for making it the desmoterion or jail, the 
scene of Plato’s Phaedo (Fig. 28). 10 

9 This may be the elusive Enneakrounos; see Travlos 1971 (1 1 71) 204; Thompson and Wycherley 
1972 (1 166) 198-9. 

10 E. Vanderpool, Illustrated London News) une 1976; Wycherley 1978 (1 187) 46-7 (here note also 
the Mint, south east of the Agora). 

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Fig. 28. The ‘Prison of Socrates’, south west of the Agora, Athens, 
teconstruction by J. E. Jones. (After Wycherley 1978(1 187) fig. 16.) 

In the stoa towards the north end of the western side of the Agora, 
identified as belonging to the shrine of Zeus Eleutherios or Soter, god of 
Freedom or Saviour, the architect’s aim was obviously to produce 
something architecturally superior to a straight colonnade, and he did it, 
as we have seen, by adding temple-like wings (Fig. 29). The outer order 
was Doric, the inner Ionic. The materials used were nicely varied - 
limestone of a harder and a softer kind in the foundations; brown 
Aeginetan limestone for the walls and for the triglyphs; Pentelic marble 
for the rest of the fa£ade and for the inner columns; both Pentelic and the 
darker Hymettian in the steps. Fine marble Victories were used as 
acroteria on the roof. This is one stoa which has something of the 
architectural distinction of a great temple. Though he had many shrines 
under many names in various parts of Athens and was honoured along 
with his daughter on the Acropolis, while the Olympieum lay largely 
derelict Zeus had no worthy temple. The embellishment of the stoa 
offered some compensation. Pausanias (3.2) saw Zeus’s statue in front of 
the building, where it had been joined by the generals Conon and 
Timotheus and the emperor Hadrian. In the fourth century Euphranor 
adorned the walls with paintings: of the Twelve Gods; of Theseus, 
Democracy and Demos; and a battle of Athenian and Lacedaemonian 
cavalry at Mantinea. Thus, though not built for the purpose, it came to 
rival the Poikile as a picture gallery. In general function one may think of 
it as a large extension of the basileios ; and in typical Athenian fashion the 

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_ ^ n 1 1 ntt firi m it nn f rrrrrr^ ± _ 

r* 1 ■ 1 111 1111 1 1 1 1 11 >imn 1 mi 1 11 mmimrLnii-o 



Fig. 29. Restoration of the facade of the Stoa of Zeus, Athens. (After H. A. Thompson, Hesperia 6 
(1937) 54, fig. 34; cf. Coulton 1976 (1 50) fig. 8.) 

modest old building, with wings now added, continued to stand for 
centuries beside the handsome new one. 

But of course the glory of Athenian architecture was concentrated in 
the creations of the Periclean building programme. By the middle of the 
century the Athenians were devoting much thought to the building of 
worthy shrines of the gods, which would at the same time be a visible 
symbol of the achievements and the power of the city (Fig. 30). Actual 
work on the Parthenon began in 447 b.c., and for sixteen years the 
complicated processes of erecting the temple and giving it elaborate 
sculptural adornment were a major concern. Each year resources were 
allotted and progress and accounts were scrutinized. 

Much preparatory work had already been done. Early in the century 
the Athenians had planned and begun to build a large temple, similar to 
the Parthenon but somewhat smaller and simpler. It was in this temple 
that Pentelic marble was first used in huge quantities. With extension and 
adjustment the massive foundations could still be used, and some 
material from the super-structure could be incorporated. To enlarge the 
flat summit area of the Acropolis, extensive terracing had been carried 
out to the south, with retaining walls ranging from the ancient 
Cyclopean wall to the ultimate fortification built in the time of Cimon. 
For the Parthenon which we know, the guiding spirits were Pericles and 
Phidias. With a number of technical assistants of course, Phidias made 
the great gold and ivory statue of Athena which the temple was designed 
to contain. Furthermore, ‘He managed everything for Pericles,’ says 
Plutarch (Per. 12.3), ‘he was the overseer ( episkopos ) of everything, even 
though the various works required great architects and artists.’ 11 How 
much truth there is in this and just what it means we cannot say precisely; 
at least we can be sure that Phidias gathered about him and directed a 
school of first-rate sculptors. His relation to the three architects named 
by our authorities, Ictinus, Callicrates, and one Carpion who is otherwise 
unknown, cannot be clearly defined. 

From inscriptions, supplemented by the evidence of the building 
itself, we can give the stages by which the Parthenon came into being. As 

11 Drerup 1981 (1 62) gives a synopsis of problems of old and new. 

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Fig. 30. Plan of the Acropolis, Athens. (After Travlos 1971 (1 171) fig. 21.) 

usual, the outer colonnades were built before the inner structure, though 
presumably with gaps through which material could safely be taken. 
Everything from steps and pavement to tiles, except for roof timbers, 
cella - ceiling and doors, was of Pentelic stone. The metopes and the frieze 
were carved on stones which were part of the fabric. The former were 
carved on the ground, the latter possibly in their position, though this is 
disputed. The metopes naturally came earliest and in them the perfection 
and harmony which we see in the later elements has not been fully 
attained. The cult statue was dedicated in 438/7, by which date the 

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temple must have received its inner colonnades and roof; the pedimental 
sculpture, free-standing statues though still intimately related to the 
architectural setting, required another five years. 

The plan speaks for itself. It is entirely regular and represents a 
moderate elaboration of the basic form of the peripteral temple. It is 
octastyle, with eight columns at either end; the inner Doric colonnade 
was in two storeys and continued round the back of the statue; the rear 
chamber, probably a treasury, opening onto the rear porch, contained 
four tall Ionic columns. 

The Parthenon illustrates in their most subtle form the refinements 
which are found in the best Doric architecture and more rarely in Ionic — 
the upward curve of horiaontal lines, the curve and inward tilt of column 
shafts, the thickening of corner columns. These are so slight as to be 
barely perceptible; but they enhance the beauty of the building; some 
give it greater stability in appearance as in fact; the curvature of the 
platform assists drainage. These features were thought worth while even 
though they added greatly to the labour of the carving and laying of 
many of the stones. 

The approach to the Acropolis has always been from the west, and one 
can assume that from time immemorial a propylon, a gate with a porch 
inside and out, stood at this end. There are traces of such a gateway built 
earlier in the fifth century with a distinctly different orientation from its 
successor. 12 The great Propylaea which Mnesicles built for Pericles in the 
430s, when the workforce of the Parthenon was free for other tasks, was 
more than a simple entrance to the Acropolis. As the plural form of the 
name suggests it was a complex building. The central element was still 
essentially a propylon; but on either side of the main gateway, through 
which the processional road ascended, were two doors reached by steps 
— the inner porch was at a higher level. In the deep outer porch, behind 
the fagade of six Doric columns, were three Ionic columns on either side 
of the roadway. To the north-west corner a wing was attached, in the 
form of a temple-like building facing south through a fagade of three 
Doric columns. A similar fagade was built at the south-west corner, 
facing north, but the structure behind it was much curtailed. The north- 
west wing was eventually a pinakotheke or picture-gallery, though it may 
have been intended for a dining-room. There is evidence in the stones 
that wings on the north east and south east were planned in the form of 
halls which might have served as store-rooms, but these were never 
built. It is unlikely that there was ever any idea of adding elaborate 
sculpture which might have competed with the Parthenon; but to the 
east and to the west and in the interior stood a number of statues of great 

12 Dinsmoor 1980(1 61) finds several building phases, the last ajttr 480 B.c.,and gives the plan as a 
simpler version of the central Mnesiclean building. He gives a full bibliography of the Propylaea. 

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2 I 8 


religious and artistic importance. Old shrines clustered thickly on the 
site, no doubt an embarrassment at times to the architects and planners. 
Somewhere down below were sanctuaries of Aphrodite Pandemos (of all 
the people), Ge Kourotrophos (nurturer of youth), and Demeter Chloe 
(green) (Paus. 1.22). 13 On the bastion which jutted south-westward was 
Athena Nike (victory), of whom we shall see more; and adjoining the 
south-west wing were Hermes Propylaeus (with whom were associated 
the Charites or Graces) and Hecate Epipyrgidia (on the tower), for both 
of whom Alcamenes made famous statues. The way in which minor 
shrines could cling to the great buildings like limpets is vividly 
illustrated by the remains at the foot of the southernmost column of the 
east porch, an altar and statue base of Athena Hygieia (health), who 
cured a workman seriously injured during the construction of the 
Propylaea. The ground to the south east was sacred to Artemis Brauro- 
nia, and the shrine was embellished with a stoa facing north with a 
rectangular hall at either end; the shrine of the goddess at Brauron itself 
in southernmost Attica was given a comparable stoa. 

The great Doric temple, which stands miraculously preserved on the 
hill overlooking the Agora from the west, was under construction at the 
same time as the Parthenon, probably in the middle 440s; there was, 
however, a break of over twenty years before the sculpture and other 
details were finally completed. Modern scholars have installed various 
deities in this temple, but though the problem has not been settled 
outright there is now general agreement that it is the Hephaesteum, in 
which Hephaestus and Athena were worshipped together. An inscrip- 
tion recording accounts from 421 to 41 5 b.c. is thought to refer to the 
making and erection of their bronze statues, which were probably by 
Alcamenes . 14 Above the lowest step, which like the foundation is of 
limestone, the whole of the upper structure is of marble; except that most 
of the sculpture and certain other details were of Parian, the stone was 
Pentelic. Examination of the foundation has revealed that the inner 
colonnade, which, probably in imitation of the Parthenon, was carried 
across the east end of the cella, was an afterthought, not part of the 
original plan. The sculptural decoration seems to be a curtailment of the 
scheme which we see in the Parthenon; there were pedimental groups, of 
which very little survives, metopes at the east end, supplemented by four 
round the corner on the north side and four on the south; and friezes 

13 The topography of the area is still very unclear and remains unidentifiable. 

14 IG i 3 472. Harrison 1977 (1 74), in her reconstruction of the statues, maintains that Athena and 
Hephaestus cannot have stood in the existing temple and that this was occupied by Eucleia (possibly 
Artemis). Her theory rests on very disputable sculptural evidence, and is contradicted by Pausanias, 
who places Eucleia south west of the Agora (1.14.5); ar *d not a trace of another temple has been 
found. Brommer 1978 (i 28) gives a different reconstruction and keeps Athena and Hephaestus in 
the existing temple. 

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2I 9 

| F™ 


'• M 


« SB 



• — 



Fig. 31. The temple by the Ilissusat Athens, elevation and plan. (After Travlos 1971 (1 171) 1 16, 
fig. 156.) 

over the front of the back porch of the inner structure, but not as in the 
Parthenon along the sides. On a more modest scale than the Parthenon, 
the Hephaesteum still gave a touch of architectural distinction to the 
Agora. From their dominant site Athena and Hephaestus presided 
directly over the life of the centre of their city. By contrast the spacious 
city sanctuary of the Eleusinian deities, diagonally opposite on the slope 
south east of the Agora, remained content with its simple pre-Persian 

Doric was the dominant order in fifth-century Athens, but in the latter 
part of the century Ionic was used to design buildings which offered a 
wonderful contrast. Incidentally an Attic type of column-base was 
developed, with a concave moulding between two convex. We find it in 
the little temple built outside the city on the south bank of the river 
Ilissus (Fig. 3 1). Although this was completely demolished by the Turks 
to provide material for a fortification, by great good fortune we know 
much more about it than about many which have left solid remains, since 
Stuart and Revett, who examined it before the destruction, left a full 
account with fine drawings. 15 It was amphiprostyle, with a columnar 
fafade at both ends. To what deity it belonged is not clear, possibly the 
Mother of the Gods, more probably Artemis Agrotera (huntress). A 
very similar temple was built, probably in the 420s (but see above, p. 1 2 5 
n. 21), in the old shrine of Athena Nike on the south-western bastion of 
the Acropolis, now enlarged and reconstructed. The time was not 
entirely appropriate for an offering to the goddess of victory, but a long- 
standing debt was handsomely paid with a temple which on a small scale 
is an example of Attic Ionic at its best. This too was amphiprostyle and 
had sculpture in the pediments and not only on its own frieze but also on 

15 Stuart and Rcvctt 1 762 (i 1 59) ch. 2. The temple has commonly been dated just after the middle 
of the century and associated with IG i 3 3 5 (M-L 44), but some recent writers have disputed this and 
brought the date down to the 420s. See Bocrsma 1970(1 23) 75; Picon 1978 (1 125); Miles 1980(1 1 1 1). 
W. A. P. Childs supports the earlier date in Ath. Mitt. 100 (1985) 207-51. 

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2 20 


the outer face of the balustrade which was erected around the bastion. 

Though they gave precedence to the Parthenon, we can assume that 
the Athenians always intended to build, on the northern part of the 
Acropolis, a direct replacement for the great archaic temple of Athena. It 
says much for their piety, their resources and their persistence that in 
troubled times they fulfilled this obligation so handsomely. The Erech- 
theum was highly peculiar in plan, besides having different ground levels 
in different parts. It was built of Pentelic marble, in the last two decades 
of the fifth century. The eastern facade was normal, with six prostyle 
Ionic columns, behind which was a broad cella. The western fafade 
consisted of a low wall on which stood four columns in antis. This part of 
the temple contained two cellas side by side behind a vestibule, but it is 
doubtful whether this arrangement goes back to the original construc- 
tion. A large columnar porch, facing northwards, was somewhat 
awkwardly attached on the north-west corner; at the corresponding 
point on the south was the small Caryatid porch, with female figures in 
place of columns. Capitals, bases and other decorative elements were 
elaborate and delicate; the frie2e which ran round the building was of 
dark Eleusinian stone, with figures of white marble attached. Besides the 
shrine and ancient statue of Athena Polias and the altar of Erechtheus 
which has provided a convenient name, the temple contained a whole 
series of altars and curious cult-spots; their distribution about the 
complex building is conjectural . 16 Yet others occupied the ground to the 
west — the grave of Cecrops, the altar of Zeus of the Hearth, the sacred 
olive tree, the little temple of Pandrosus, and the house of the priestesses 
known as Arrhephoroi. Religious complexity may account in part for 
the exceptional form of the building, but we cannot know what was in 
the minds of the architects. 

The Acropolis was now crowned by three splendid buildings. Each 
had its own independent character. The Parthenon was dominant, but 
the Propylaea was something more than a mere prelude and the 
Erechtheum provided a contrast and a foil. They rose above a great host 
of sculptural monuments of many kinds; these stood in no particular 
order, except that they tended to accumulate along the roads leading 
eastward from the Propylaea in the direction of the temples and along the 
north side of the Parthenon to its east end. On the south slope, adjacent 
to the theatre, a shrine of Asclepius was added to the primitive shrines 
towards the end of the fifth century, but did not receive a temple till the 

Temple building was by no means confined to the astj, the city proper. 
Piraeus, as we have seen, was developing rapidly; the harbour town had 

16 For the internal arrangements and a suggested distribution of the various shrines see Travlos 
1971 (1 171) 213. Much uncertainty remains, however. 

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many shrines, and some had temples, but we know very little about 
them. Solid evidence of temple building comes from several country 
demes, by a curiously devious route. By the Roman period a number of 
temples in these districts had fallen into a state of dilapidation; from 
several of them, architectural members were brought into the city for 
reuse and some of these have been found in excavations. 17 One large 
temple was completely transferred, block by block, each marked with 
letters to ensure that it was correctly placed. This is the building which, 
although it can be dated in the fifth century, stood eventually on 
foundations of Augustan date in the middle of the Agora. Its place in 
Pausanias’ account (1.8.4) leaves no doubt that it belonged to Ares, for 
whom Alcamenes made the statue. In extreme contrast with the 
Hephaesteum, the remains consist of scores of scattered blocks, but there 
is enough to show that the temple was very similar in dimensions and 
general plan. The material was Pentelic marble with a peculiar greenish 
tinge - Pentelic was by no means entirely monotonous in character. 
Where the temple originally stood is not known. It is very difficult to 
find a site within the city, or a reason for the transference if that is where 
it stood; a probable suggestion is that it came from Acharnae, north of 
the city, which had a notable shrine of Ares. 

Criteria of style in architecture are admittedly not so precise as in other 
arts; but Dinsmoor detects in this building the work of the architect of 
the Hephaesteum, and to the same hand he ascribes the temples of 
Poseidon at Sunium and of Nemesis at Rhamnous in eastern Attica. 18 
The former is the temple whose columns still crown the southern cape. 
Pausanias (1.1.1) wrongly assigns it to Athena, but in fact the scanty 
remains of this shrine lie some distance further north. 

The temple of Poseidon was peripteral, six by thirteen like many 
others and, like several others in this region, it was built of a milky white 
marble, not so fine as Pentelic, peculiar to south Attica. Beneath it are 
remains of a temple of the early fifth century, unfinished when it was 
destroyed by the Persians. At Rhamnous too there was a pre-Persian 
temple, a simple cella with Doric porch; but in this case the replacement, a 
Doric peristyle of comparatively modest size, was built on a distinct site a 
little further north; 19 another leading pupil of Phidias, Agoracritus, 
made a notable cult statue of the goddess. Two other temples originally 
built in south Attica in the fifth century provided material for building in 
the city itself in Roman imperial times. Ionic elements from the temple of 
Athena at Sunium, a building of unusual plan, with columns only along 

17 Thompson and Wycherley 1972 (1 166) 162—7. 

18 Dinsmoor 1950 (1 60); c f. Wycherley 1978 (1 187) 69; Knell 1973 (1 89) distinguishes two 

19 See now M. M. Miles, Hesperia 58 (1989) 155—249. 

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the east front and south side, have been found in the southern part of the 
Agora and assigned tentatively in their later use to the ‘south-west’ 
temple which may have housed an imperial cult. Doric columns from the 
peripteral temple of Demeter and Kore at Thoricus were probably 
incorporated in the facade of the ‘south-east’ temple, which was perhaps 
dedicated to the same deities. The temple at Thoricus was never finished; 
and it has been noted that in column drums from the Agora the fluting 
has been begun at top and bottom with the meticulous care of a fifth- 
century craftsman but completed somewhat carelessly, presumably by 
his successors of the first century a.d. 

To return to the city, in conclusion, on theatre, stadium and 
gymnasium one can add hardly anything to what has been said in the 
previous section, though they played a vital part in the life of the city, 
especially in our period. The Odeum of Pericles formed an impressive 
appendage to the theatre; the theatre itself remained structurally very 
simple. ‘The Academy’, says Plutarch ( Cim . 13.8), ‘formerly waterless 
and parched, he made a well-watered grove, equipped with clear running 
tracks [ dromot] and shady walks’; he is speaking of Cimon, who also had 
plane-trees planted in the Agora. The further architectural development 
of all these elements belongs to a later time, the age of Lycurgus, 
statesman, finance minister and tireless builder. 

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Many of the innumerable ancient Greek festivals included athletic and 
cultural contests. By the fifth century b.c. a few of these gatherings had 
achieved much more than a purely local prestige and significance. Pindar 
and Bacchylides often give long catalogues of the victories of an athlete 
or his family at places all over Greece, but Pindar distinguishes these 
from the ‘common festivals’, where athletes ‘contested against all the 
Greeks together’ ( Istbm . iv.30-1). 1 By this time, a special group of four 
festivals had come to be distinguished from the rest, the Olympian, 
Pythian, Isthmian and Nemean Games, and it is for victories at these that 
the majority of our surviving epinician poems were composed. These 
were known as ‘crown games’ ( stepbanitai ), because the prizes were not 
objects of material value but simply crowns, at Olympia of wild olive, at 
Delphi of bay, and at Nemea and Isthmia of fresh and dry celery 
respectively (at least, in Pindar’s time). 2 Such crowns were given at some 
other festivals, but at the majority prizes of greater utility were offered. 

These four festivals were in origin very different in size and signifi- 
cance from each other. The Olympic Games, which were held in honour 
of Zeus, in the district of Pisa beside the river Alpheus, seem to have 
acquired a wider importance quite early in the Archaic period. Since lists 
of Olympic victors were kept from the first Olympiad in 776 b.c. 
onward, they could later be used to provide a convenient chronological 
framework for the entire Greek world. These games took place every 
four years, in August or September, at the hottest and dustiest time of 
year for both athletes and spectators. The original race was the stadion, a 
sprint of approximately 200 metres, and other contests were added 
gradually during the following centuries. 3 There was a tradition (Phi- 
lostr., De Gjmnastica 5) that originally the athletes ran to the altar of 
Zeus, and the victor kindled the flame on the altar for the sacrifice (cf. 
also Schol. Pind. 01 . 1.149c). If this is true, it shows very clearly the 

1 For Pindar’s lists and the festivals he mentions, see Kramer 1970 (k 52) 3-6}. 

2 On Isthmian crowns see Broneer 1962 (k 8) 259-63. 

* For a convenient list see Bengtson 1972 (k 3) 35-6. 

22 3 

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religious purpose of the earliest form of the festival. It is now known 
from archaeology that until the stadium was rebuilt in the fourth century 
b.c. it lay very much closer to the altar of Zeus, with its western end 
open, and within the sacred enclosure. 4 The fact that it was later rebuilt 
outside the sanctuary proper suggests that the old religious ties had been 
loosened by that time, but in Pindar’s day they were still strongly felt (cf. 
Pis. to Vol. hi, pi. 304 (/>)). 

The Pythian Games at Delphi began as a purely musical event. The 
original contest was said to have consisted simply in the singing of a 
hymn to Apollo. After the First Sacred War, in the early sixth century 
b.c., the festival was reorganized by the Amphictyonic League, with the 
addition of further musical competitions, and subsequently of athletic 
contests. These games also took place every four years, in late August in 
the third year of each Olympiad, and the Pythiads were reckoned from 
582 b.c. 5 Because of the prestige of Delphi they ranked second in 
importance after Olympia in the Classical period. 

The Isthmian and Nemean Games also took their classical form in the 
early sixth century, the Isthmian probably in 582, the Nemean in 573. 
Both were held every two years, in April or May and in J uly respectively. 
The Isthmian Games were administered by Corinth, and were probably 
reorganized on their new scale after the fall of the Cypselids. They were 
in honour of Poseidon, and owed their popularity to Corinth’s position 
as a meeting-place for mainland Greece, and as a flourishing port. The 
Nemean festival, in honour of Zeus, was officially controlled by Cleonae, 
but its earliest foundation was linked in legend with the expedition of the 
Seven against Thebes, led by Adrastus of Argos, and Argos probably 
had a hand in its organization. It may have been intended to rival the 
activity of Cleisthenes of Sicyon, who had banned the cult of Adrastus, 
and who had helped to reorganize the Pythian Games. 6 There was a 
similar rivalry between Olympia and Corinth in the tradition that no 
Elean was allowed to compete at the Isthmus (Plut. Mor. 400 E; Paus. 
v.2.2). This exclusion was said to date from the time when the Eleans had 
refused to erase the names of the Cypselids from their offerings at 
Olympia, after the fall of the dynasty. 

Although the early history of the Nemean festival is obscure, it seems 
likely that Argos exercised some kind of general influence over the 
sanctuary throughout this period, rather than taking control of Cleonae 
and Nemea around 460 b.c., 7 or after the destruction of the temple of 
Zeus, at the end of the fifth century. 8 Already in 468 we hear of Mycenae 

4 Cf. Mallwitz 1972 (1 102) 180-6, Romano 1981 (1 144) 116—41; Pis. to Vol . nr, pi. 304. 

5 Cf. Gas par 1900^41) iff. Fora recent, unconvincing attempt to argue for 5 86 as the date of the 
first Pythiad see Miller 1978 (k 62) 127—58. 

6 McGregor 1941 (k 59) 277-8, Jeffery 1976 (a 69) 137. 

7 Cf. Bolte 1922 (f 8) 726 with references ad loc. 

8 Cf. Miller 1977 (1 1 1 5) 9-10, 1981 (1 1 1 5) 51-2, with references to earlier reports. 

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claiming against Argos the right of sole control of the games (Diod. 
xi. 65. 2), and this seems to imply some form of Argive control at this 

It is clear from inscriptions, and from the order in which Pindar lists 
the festivals in his victory catalogues, that the Isthmian Games ranked as 
more important than the Nemean. 9 But throughout the Classical period 
both these festivals attracted competitors from a less wide area than the 
other two sanctuaries. 

The gods in whose honour these festivals were held were panhellenic 
deities, and in gathering at their sanctuaries the Greeks felt very strongly 
the bonds of a common religion and culture. Only those of pure Greek 
birth could compete in the games in the Classical period. A sacred truce, 
which extended over the whole Greek world, prevailed for a period 
before, during, and after these festivals. This was not strictly speaking an 
armistice, but was probably designed in the first place to guarantee safe 
conduct to those visiting the festivals. 10 But by the fifth century b.c. 
Olympia’s role as a panhellenic sanctuary came to assume a much greater 
significance, especially in the period after the Persian Wars. It had 
already come to be used as a place for debate between cities when a 
dispute arose, for arbitration, and for the publication of treaties. It 
became also a place where orators, philosophers and literary men could 
display their talents, by speeches or recitation of their works. It was said 
that Herodotus read parts of his history here, in the opisthodomos of the 
temple of Zeus (Lucian, Herod. 1). Gorgias appealed for unity against 
Persia here in 408, and Lysias and Isocrates composed speeches for 
delivery at Olympia in the early fourth century. Cities also dedicated war 
trophies here, as they did at Delphi. This, however, may have had a 
divisive rather than a unifying effect, if the defeated enemy were fellow- 
Greeks, as was often the case. The temple of Zeus itself is said by 
Pausanias (v.10.2) to have been built by the Eleans from the spoils of a 
war with their neighbours. One must beware of equating religious and 
cultural unity with political cohesion, which was always a very fragile 
reality for the Greeks at the best of times. Nevertheless, it is clear that 
they did see Olympia as representing an idea of this kind. As Lysias says 
when praising Heracles for his legendary foundation of the Olympic 
Games: ‘he thought that this gathering would become for the Greeks the 
origin of their mutual friendship’ (xxxm.z). Certainly from a religious 
point of view Olympia came to be seen as the Greek sanctuary par 
excellence. Phidias’ great statue of Zeus represented for many the most 
impressive embodiment in visual form of the Greek idea of divinity, and 

9 IG * 3 13 1.12, i 2 606, 829 ( = 1 3 893, 1022), n 2 3128, Thummer 1969 (j 104) 11. 1 1 5. At some stage 
in transmission the books of Isthmian and Nemean odes must have been transposed in the collection 
of Pindar’s epinicians: cf. Irigoin 1952 (j 5 5) 100. 

10 Rougemont 1973 (k 79) 75—106. 

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Olympia’s supremacy is most memorably expressed by Pindar, at the 
opening of Olympian i (3-7): 

But if to sing of contests 
You long, dear heart. 

Look no further for another star 
Shining by day through the barren ether 
Warmer than the sun: nor shall we tell 
Of any gathering mightier than Olympia. 

Although Delphi never achieved the same reputation as Olympia for 
political neutrality, as the ‘navel of the earth’ it could claim to be in 
another sense the religious centre of Greece, and as the chief oracular 
sanctuary in the Classical period it also exercised a powerful political 
influence. Our view of the Pythian Games at this period depends largely 
on Pindar’s Pythian odes, and Pindar’s own special connexions with 
Apollo and Delphi are evident. No other deity is portrayed so vividly 
and sympathetically in his poetry. But, although this may reflect Pindar’s 
personal bias as a poet, we can gain through him a view of Delphi as a 
focus for the cultural ideals of Greece, which is surely also an expression 
of what many Greeks of this time must have felt. 

The poems of Pindar and Bacchylides demonstrate in another import- 
ant way the unifying force of these great festivals, in that so many of 
them were composed for Sicilian patrons. The Persian Wars and their 
aftermath coincided with a serious threat to the Greeks in Italy and Sicily 
from the attacks of the Etruscans and Carthaginians. Pindar’s first 
Pythian expresses most clearly the sense of an urgent need for unity 
between Greeks of the motherland and their western colonies. The 
Sicilian tyrants were at the height of their power and wealth at this time, 
and their victories at Olympia and Delphi were an essential medium for 
increasing their prestige. The rivalry with which they competed in these 
contests, and also in enriching the sanctuaries with treasuries and other 
splendid monuments, must have helped to give the Greeks a greater 
sense of unity in the face of external dangers. 


Nowadays competitions of any kind take place in a purely secular 
setting, and the idea of connecting sport with religion seems particularly 
odd. There is a sense of ceremony and of a contrast with everyday life, 
but usually no more than that. 

For the Greeks, however, the religious context was essential. The 
competitions formed part of the festivals in honour of gods and heroes. 

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The gods themselves took pleasure in contests, and to compete at a god’s 
sanctuary was a special way of honouring him. The poet of the Homeric 
Hymn to Apollo , in his vivid description of the Delian festival, reminds 
Apollo of how all the Ionians ‘give you pleasure as they commemorate 
you with boxing, dancing and singing, whenever they institute your 
festival’ (149-50). Lucian describes the gods as ‘overseers of the games’ 
( Pro Imag. 19). As the Phaeacians in the Odyssey hold special contests to 
entertain Odysseus, and Achilles in the Iliad institutes funeral games to 
honour his dead companion Patroclus, so the games of the historical 
period were celebrated against an imagined background of divine and 
heroic spectators. 

But the gods were not merely detached observers. They could also 
favour individual competitors. The Greeks viewed life in general very 
much in competitive or ‘agonistic’ terms, and all success was a divine 
gift. We see them in action in the Iliad, both in war and also in war’s 
image, in the contests of Book xxm. Plutarch calls Greek athletics an 
‘imitation and preparation for war’ ( Mor . 639 DE), although by his time 
athletic and military training diverged (cf. Plut. Philopoemen 3.2—4). As 
Pindar says to the victor Arcesilas, king of Cyrene: 

Forget not, while you are sung of 
In Aphrodite’s sweet garden at Cyrene, 

To set God as the cause 
Over all things. (Pytb. v.23-5) 

Many athletic festivals were believed to have been originally instituted 
to commemorate the death of a legendary figure of the past. In fact, the 
ancient commentators on Pindar state that all ancient games were 
originally of this character (Schol. Pind. Isthm. init.). At Olympia the 
games were in honour of Pelops and commemorated his victory in the 
chariot race with king Oenomaus of Pisa, by which he won the king’s 
daughter Hippodameia as his wife (Pind. 01 . r. 67-88). But they were also 
said to have been founded by Heracles, and Pindar gives a list of the 
victors on this first occasion when they were held ( 01 . x. 24-77). One 
tradition ascribed to Heracles the foundation of the Nemean Games, too, 
after he had killed the Nemean lion (Schol. Pind. Nem. init.). But the 
usual version was that they were in memory of the child Opheltes, who 
was killed by a snake at Nemea when Adrastus’ army stopped there on 
the way to attack Thebes. Likewise, the Isthmian Games commemorated 
the death of the child Melicertes (or Palaemon), son of Ino. The Pythian 
Games, although not in honour of a hero, could also be described as 
funeral games, as they marked Apollo’s killing of the serpent Python. 

We have already seen that the original race at Olympia was a religious 

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event, being run to the great altar of Zeus, where the chief sacrifice of the 
festival took place. This altar stood near the precinct of Pelops and the 
temple of Hera, which existed long before the temple of Zeus was built. 
These religious landmarks formed the central cult area of the sanctuary. 
In Olympian i (yotf) Pindar speaks of the honours paid to Pelops at his 
tomb, beside the altar of Zeus, and of the contests which are held in their 
honour nearby. 

Likewise at Isthmia one can still see the starting lines of the stadium 
that was used in the Archaic and Classical periods (Pis. to Vol. iv, pi. 
203). These lie right next to the later sanctuary of Palaemon, and near the 
temple of Poseidon. 11 It has also recently been suggested that the earliest 
stadium at Nemea lay quite near the temple of Zeus, unlike the later one. 12 

In addition to the heroes in whose honour the games were held, there 
were others who could be associated specifically with these contests. The 
great model for all athletic achievement (but especially for boxing, 
wrestling and the pankration) was Heracles, whose own exploits ( athla ) 
had, in Greek belief of the late Archaic and Classical periods, earned him 
a place among the gods. 13 But the Dioscuri were also patrons of athletes, 
Castor specifically of horsemen and Polydeuces of boxers, and they too 
had their alternating shares of immortality. Pindar is also fond of 
mentioning the athletic and other exploits of Iolaus, the nephew and 
companion of Heracles, who shared a festival with Heracles at Thebes. 14 

More generally, the achievements of living athletes are seen by the 
epinician poets in the context of both the recent historical past and also 
the remoter past of legends. The heroes whom they mention were often 
worshipped by the athletes’ communities, or regarded as their ancestors. 
For Pindar and Bacchylides past and present are inseparable, and the 
present only has meaning in the light of the past. It is not really possible 
in these poets to separate history from mythology, and for this reason it 
is misleading to speak of their use of myths, as if these were extraneous to 
the main subject matter of their poems. The historical event which they 
celebrate has greater significance by virtue of its relationship with the 
heroic age when men and gods were on closer terms. Living athletes in 
turn come closer to divine status as a result of their god-given success. 
This is confirmed most dramatically by the numerous legends which 
rapidly sprang up about the supernatural exploits and deaths of famous 
athletes of the sixth and fifth centuries b.c., and the fact that some of 
them were actually worshipped as heroes after death. 15 

11 Cf. Broneer 1973 (1 31), csp. 46-66, 137—42, and Romano 1981 (1 144) 53—70. P/s. to Vol. /v, pi. 
203. 12 Cf. Romano 1977(1 143) 27-3 1. See also Miller 1983 (1 115)80-2. 

13 Kramer 1970 (k 52) 108-38. 

14 01 . ix.98— 9; Pyth. rx. 79-83, xi. 55-61; Nem. 111.36-9; hthm. 1.14— 32, v.32-3, vn.9. 

15 Cf. Fontenrose 1968 (k 30) 73-104, Harris 1964 (k 36) no#, Pouilloux 1954 (f 58) 1.62-105. 

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i. Olympia 

The Olympic festival lasted for five days in the fifth century b.c. (Pind. 
01 . v.6). It was held in the month Parthenios or Apollonios, at the full 
moon, once every forty-nine or fifty months, and was preceded by a 
sacred truce of a month. The centrepiece of the ceremonies was the 
sacrifice of a hecatomb on the altar of Zeus, which was itself composed of 
ash from the vicdms (Paus. v. 13.8). The exact order of the athletic events 
is not known for certain. According to Pausanias (v.9.3), up to 472 the 
equestrian contests were held on the same day as the other events, but 
thereafter the pentathlon (running, jumping, discus, javelin and wres- 
tling) and horse-races took place before the sacrifice, and the other 
contests after it (cf. also Xen. Hell, vn.4.29). The boys’ contests preceded 
the men’s (Plut. Mor. 639 A), the foot-races were all on the same day, and 
the wrestling, boxing and pankration were also on the same day (Paus. 
vi. 6. 5, 13.3, 15.4). The last event was the race in armour. 

At the end of the sixth century the list of contests was as follows: 
stadion (single lap foot-race), diaulos (double lap), dolichos (long race), 
pentathlon, wrestling, boxing, pankration, boys’ foot-race, boys’ wres- 
tling, boys’ boxing, race in armour, four-horse chariot-race, horse-race. 
To these were added the mule chariot- race in 500 and the mares’ race in 
496, but both of these were discontinued in 444. In 408 a two-horse 
chariot-race was introduced. 

The contests were preceded by a procession from Elis to Olympia, and 
a ceremony at which athletes and officials swore an oath to observe the 
rules of the games, and they were followed by victory celebrations, with 
processions and banquets. 

The overall control of the festival was in the hands of a board of Elean 
judges. The number of these was increased from one to two in 5 80 b.c. 
(Paus. v.9.4), and some time later, probably during the fifth century, it 
was raised to nine, and soon after to ten. (The dates in Pausanias are 
unfortunately corrupt.) In inscriptions from before the Persian Wars 
these judges are called diaitateres. In 476, however, Pindar uses the term 
hellanodikas ( 01 . 111.12; cf. Inschr. v. Olympia No. 2 = Jeffery 1961 (c 137) 
220 No. 1 5 , 475—50 b.c.); and Pausanias also refers to them as hellanodikai 
when speaking of the change to nine (v.9. 5 ). It is possible that the name 
was introduced at this time in recognition of the increased national 
prestige of the games. 17 

The judges exercised a strict disciplinary authority over the athletes, 

16 Cf. Gardiner 1910 (k 33) 194-226, Bengtson 1972 (k 3) 32-56. 

17 Cf., however, Hellanicus, FGrH 4 f 1 13, Arist. fr. 492. 

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and had power to impose heavy fines for breaches of the rules. An 
unpublished inscription of the late sixth or early fifth century mentions 
offences, in particular the breaking of fingers in a wrestling match, and 
also bribery. Punishments include beating, provided that this is not on 
the head, and fines are mentioned. It is notable that offenders are called 
mianteres (defilers), a word which again reminds one of the religious 
character of the occasion. There is also mention of ‘the Eleans and their 
alliance’, and this suggests that Olympia may already have been 
controlled by a league of Elean communities at this period. 

The main changes at Olympia during the fifth century are linked to the 
political development of Elis. 18 After the Persian Wars the Eleans, who 
had arrived too late to fight in the battle of Plataea, banished their 
oligarchic leaders (Hdt. ix.77). The scattered communities of Elis were 
then concentrated in a newly founded city of Elis (Diod. xi.54.1, Str. 
viii. 3 .2, p. 3 36). This city was designed with special consideration for the 
preparations for the festival at Olympia, with spacious training-grounds 
for horses, several gymnasia, and the headquarters of the hellanodikai 
(Paus. vi. 23-4). After a war in which they gained control over some of 
their neighbours (cf. Hdt. iv.148, Str. vm.3.30, p. 35 5), the Eleans built 
the temple of Zeus at Olympia. This is thought to have been finished 
soon after 457 (cf. Paus. v. 10.4). It was some time before the temple 
housed the great statue of Zeus by Phidias, which was not finished until 
the 420s. Phidias’ workshop, and some of the materials and tools which 
he used when working on the statue, have been found at Olympia. 19 

Towards the middle of the fifth century a new stadium was built, 
which replaced the previous one of the mid-sixth century. This was in 
use until some time in the fourth century, when the surviving stadium 
was constructed. This lay for the first time outside the bounds of the 
Aids, the sacred enclosure proper. 20 

During the Peloponnesian War the Olympic Games continued to be 
held. Elis at first sided with Sparta, and in 428 the Mytilenaeans 
presented their case against Athens to the Peloponnesian alliance at 
Olympia, after the festival (Thuc. m.8ff). But a dispute with Sparta over 
the Elean control of Lepreum led to the formation of an alliance between 
Elis and Argos in 421, and the next year the Eleans and Argives allied 
themselves with Athens (Thuc. v.31, 47). At the games of 420 the 
Spartans were forbidden to compete or sacrifice, because they had not 
paid the fine imposed by the Eleans for an alleged breach of the Olympic 
truce, and the festival was conducted in the presence of a garrison for fear 

18 Cf. Swoboda 1905 (f 67) 2392-2401 and Honle 1968 (f 34). 

19 Cf. Mallwitz 1972 (1 102) 211—34, 235-66, Herrmann 1972 (k 40) 128—57. 

20 Cf. Mallwitz 1972 (1 102) 1 80-6, Herrmann 1972 (k 40) 105 ff, 1 59, 164-5, Romano 198 1 (1 144) 
116—41, and Koenigs in Mallwitz 1981 (1 103) 366-8. 

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of a Spartan attack. The Spartan Lichas, the wealthiest man in Sparta, 
was also beaten by the Olympic officials for ignoring the regulation 
debarring the Spartans from taking part (Thuc. v.49— 50). 

After the battle of Mantinea, Elis seems to have adopted a neutral 
position. But at the end of the war Sparta took her revenge. Elis was 
invaded by Agis, defeated, and forced to give up her dependent 
territories. However, she was allowed to retain control of the adminis- 
tration of the Olympic festival (Xen. Hell, m.2.21-31). 

2. Pythia 

The Pythian Games were held in the Delphic month Boukatios 
(August— September), under the control of the Hieromnemones, who were 
the twenty-four representatives chosen by the twelve peoples of the 
Amphictyonic League to run its affairs. In addition to looking after the 
upkeep of the sanctuary, the Hieromnemones were responsible for the 
proclamation of the sacred truce and the general administration of the 
festival. 21 The musical contests always remained important, and con- 
sisted in those for singing to the cithara, cithara-playing and flute- 
playing (Paus. x.7.2-4; cf. Pind. Pyth. xir). The athletic contests were 
similar to those at Olympia, with the addition of a diaulos and dolichos for 
boys. The race in armour was added in 498. The horse-races were always 
held in the plain of Crisa below Delphi. It has recently been argued on 
archaeological grounds that the existing stadium was not built before the 
late fourth or early third century b.c., and that before this date the 
athletic events were also held in the plain. 22 The temple of Apollo whose 
ruins can now be seen was built in the fourth century b.c. to replace the 
one built in the late sixth century and completed by the Alcmaeonids (cf. 
Pind. Pyth. vn.7-9). The gymnasium and palaestra are situated near the 
temple of Athena Pronaia and date from the late fourth century. 23 

7. Isthmia 

The Isthmian Games included the usual athletic and equestrian contests. 
Chariot- and horse-races were especially prominent here, perhaps 
because of Poseidon’s patronage of horses. There was also a special foot- 
race of four laps called the hippios, which was not run at Olympia, and 
there were by the fifth century b.c. separate competitions for youths as 
well as men and boys. Musical contests are not attested before the third 
century. The temple of Poseidon was built around the middle of the fifth 

21 Cf. Roux 1979 (f 60) 57-8. 

22 Cf. Aupert 1979 (1 8), esp. 17-31, 52-4, 1 64— 5 , 180. See also Miller 1981 (1 114) 504—6 for 
criticisms. 23 Cf. Courby 1927 (1 53), and Jannoray 1953 (1 80). 

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century, and replaced an earlier temple of the seventh century. The early 
stadium nearby was replaced by one outside the sanctuary, probably in 
the late fourth century or thereafter. 24 

4. Nemea 

The Nemean Games took place on the twelfth day of the Nemean month 
Panemos, under the control of officials known as the hellanodikai , who 
wore dark robes to commemorate the legendary funereal origin of the 
festival. The main attraction seems to have been the athletic contests, 
although there was also a chariot-race. The origin of the pankration is 
traced by Bacchylides to Heracles’ victory over the Nemean lion 
(xni.46— 5 7). There was a hippios race, as at Isthmia, and many events for 
boys and youths. The boys’ pentathlon was not introduced until the fifth 
century b.c. (Schol. Pind. Nem. vri init.). The stadium, which has 
recently been excavated, dates from the second half of the fourth century 
b.c. 25 But a block which appears to come from the starting-line of an 
earlier stadium was built into the threshold of a later building near the 
temple of Zeus (above, n. 12). The earliest temple was probably built in 
the sixth century. It was destroyed at the end of the fifth, and rebuilt only 
in the later fourth century. 26 Nine buildings of the early fifth century 
have been discovered, which appear to be treasuries as at Olympia and 
Delphi, and also what is thought to be the temenos of a hero, which may 
perhaps be the sanctuary of Opheltes (cf. Paus. 11.15.3). 27 


The late sixth and fifth centuries were a golden age for Greek athletes. 
This was the time when aristocrats and tyrants vied for the most coveted 
prizes, those in the chariot- and horse-races, and our picture of athletes in 
general at this period is very much influenced by the wealthy patrons for 
whom Pindar and Bacchylides wrote many of their poems. But, contrary 
to what is often believed, athletic success was by no means confined to 
the wealthy amateur at this time. 28 By the fifth century there were enough 
festivals to keep an athlete perpetually busy, and those who were 
successful from an early age could devote a large part of their lives to 
training and competition, and probably also look forward to a prosper- 

24 Cf. Broneer 1971 (1 30) and 1973 (1 31) 46-66. 

25 Cf. Miller 1975 (1 1 1 5) 169—72, 1976 (1 1 1 5) 193-202, 1977 (1 1 1 5) 22-6, 1978 (1 1 1 5) 84-8, 1979 
(1 115)93-103, 1980 (1 1 15) 198-203, 1981 (1 1 1 5) 65-7, 1982 (1 1 1 5) 36-7; and Romano 1981 (1 144) 
71— 1 14. 

26 Cf. Hill 1966 (1 75) and Miller (above, n. 25). 

27 Cf. Miller 1978 (1 1 15) 67-78, 1979 (1 115) 83-5, 1981 (1 1 1 5) 60-5. 

28 Cf. Young 1984 (k 91). See also Kyle 1987 (k 56) 102 ff. 

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ous retirement. We already hear of a number of famous athletes in this 
period who came from humble backgrounds, for example Glaucus of 
Carystus, who was said to have been a ploughboy, and whose success as a 
boxer earned him the praise of the poet Simonides (fr. 509 PMG), or the 
runner Polymestor of Miletus, in the early sixth century, who was said to 
be a goatherd, or the cowherd Amesinas in the fifth century. 29 We are 
told that Alcibiades avoided entering for other events at Olympia, apart 
from the chariot-race, because ‘he knew that some of the athletes were of 
low birth, came from small towns, and were of poor education’ (Isocr. 
x vi . 3 3 4). 

To get some idea of the number of festivals available throughout 
Greece, one need only consider the extraordinary career of Theogenes of 
Thasos, in the early fifth century. He was said to have won over 1,300 
athletic victories, and never to have been defeated at boxing during a 
career of twenty-two years. Apart from his success as a boxer, he had a 
number of victories in the pankration, and also won the long-distance 
race at Argos and at Phthia in Thessaly. 30 

One should also take account of the scale of prizes at some of the 
games, and of other rewards to athletes by their home cities. At Athens, 
victors in the Panathenaea received amphorae of olive oil as prizes (cf. 
Pis. to Vol. iv, pis. 204--5). An inscription of the fourth century b.c. lists 
these prizes. The largest, for the winner of the chariot- race, was 140 
amphorae ( IG n 2 231 1.5 5—6), and those for some of the other athletic 
contests were also considerable (e.g. probably 100 amphorae for the 
winner of the stadion). An amphora of olive oil was worth at least 12 
drachmae at this time, and probably considerably more than this, and the 
daily wage of a skilled workman was only about 1— drachmae. This 
gives some idea of the scale of such prizes in financial terms. 

Although the crown games did not offer such material rewards, 
athletes could expect these on their return home. By the time of Solon 
such rewards seem to have been already considerable at Athens, as he is 
said to have restricted the amounts given to victors at Olympia and 
Isthmia to 500 and 100 drachmae respectively (Plut. Solon. 23.3, D.L. 
1.5 5). Plutarch (/or. r//.)also informs us that at this time 5 00 drachmae was 
the equivalent of the annual yield from the estate of the top Solonian 
property class, the pentakosiomedimnoi. 

The sixth-century poet and philosopher Xenophanes pours scorn on 
the honours and rewards given to Olympic victors, saying that their 
achievements really were of no value to their communities by contrast 
with his own intellectual contribution (fr. 2 IEG). 3i He fists these 

29 Cf. Moretti 1957 (k 64), nos. 154, 79, 261. 

30 Cf. Pouilloux 1954 (f 58)62-105; Harris 1964 (k 36) 115-16. 

31 Cf. Bowra 1953 (j 6) 15—37, Marcovich 1978 (j 77) 16—26. 

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rewards as a seat of honour at festivals (proedria ), meals at public expense 
(i.e. oiTTjcns ev npvTavel(p), and expensive gifts, and these practices are 
confirmed by later evidence. 32 Criticisms like those of Xenophanes also 
recur later, most notably in a speech from Euripides’ Autolycus (fr. 282 
n 2 ). 33 But there were other honours which Xenophanes does not 
mention: the statues of athletes, with which Greek sanctuaries and public 
places began to be crowded from the sixth century onwards; 34 the public 
inscriptions recording their exploits, and in the case of rulers the issues of 
coins struck to commemorate their equestrian victories (Pis. to Vol. iv, 
pi. 214); the celebrations, often very extravagant, both after victory and 
on their return home, when they were escorted in a grandiose triumphal 
procession by their fellow citizens, and thanksgiving was offered to local 
gods and heroes; the victory songs themselves; and finally the fact, 
already mentioned, that some athletes came to be regarded as heroes, and 
worshipped after death. 

Such extravagant honours, and the resentment and criticism which 
they aroused, should be borne in mind when we read the frequent 
references in Pindar and Bacchylides to the risk of envy (phthonos ) to 
which the successful athlete was always vulnerable. When Pindar 
solemnly warns his patrons that they have reached the limits of success 
available to men, we should take his words at face value. Pythagoras was 
said to have advised men to compete at Olympia, but not to win, because 
of the danger of envy (Porph. VP 1 5 ); and in a famous comparison of life 
to the Olympic Games he said that athletes were like men possessed by a 
desire for rule and leadership, and by a mad lust for glory (Iambi. VP 

Political and athletic ambitions were, in fact, often inseparable. There 
is a story that Glaucus of Carystus ended his life as governor of Camarina 
in Sicily (Schol. Aeschin. In Ctes. 190, Bakker Anecd. Gr. 1.232). 35 
Another famous athlete, Phayllus of Croton, was the only representative 
of the western Greeks to send aid to the battle of Salamis, and he came 
with his own ship (Hdt. vm.47). We do not know whether or not he was 
wealthy by birth: like Glaucus he may have risen to prominence by his 
athletic prowess. 

A salient example of the political use of athletic success is provided by 
Alcibiades. In the debate at Athens about whether to mount an 
expedition against Sicily, he defended his credentials as an advocate of 
this project and a potential leader by claiming that he had brought 
exceptional honour to Athens through his personal success at the 
Olympic Games in 416 b.c. He had entered seven chariots, and had been 

32 For fifth-century Athens, cf. Bowra 1953 0 6) 30-4, and IC i 3 151.1 1-18, PI .Ap. 36d. 

33 Cf. also Finley and Pleket 1976 (k 29) 1 13—32. 

34 Cf. Gardiner 1910 (k 35) 70, 77, 86ff. 35 Dunbabin 1948 (a 29) 416. 

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placed first, second and fourth, a unique achievement. This in his view 
had led the rest of Greece to have a far higher opinion of Athens’ power, 
instead of supposing her to have been ruined by the expenses of the war 
(Thuc. vi. 16). Thucydides himself comments that Alcibiades’ expendi- 
ture on his race-horses had really overstrained his resources, and he was 
hoping to recoup his fortunes in Sicily. His ostentation was, in fact, a 
chief cause of popular mistrust of his ambitions and of the fear that he 
was aiming at tyranny, which led to his later expulsion from Athenian 
politics (Thuc. vi. 1 5. 3— 4). 

It is significant that at Sparta the only king who had ever won a victory 
in the chariot-race at Olympia, down to Herodotus’ time, was the 
renegade Demaratus, who ended his life as an exile in Persia (Hdt. vi.70). 
The Spartans feared such successes. 36 

Horses and chariots were a heritage from the epic age of heroes. 
Cimon, son of Stesagoras, who was winner of the Olympic chariot-race 
three times in the late sixth century, and was killed by the sons of 
Pisistratus, was buried together with his victorious horses (Hdt. vi. 103). 
This reminds one of the funeral of Patroclus, and of the horse-burials of 
the Mycenaean and Geometric periods. Race-horses were usually ridden 
by professional jockeys, but a wealthy owner, or one of his family, could 
drive his own chariot (cf. Pind. Pyth. v, Isthm. 1 and perhaps Pyth. vi). 
Cimon is also a good example of the political use of these contests, since 
he allowed Pisistratus to be proclaimed as victor on the second occasion 
when he won, and was then permitted to return from exile (Hdt. loc. cit.). 

After the equestrian contests, we can possibly get some idea of the 
popularity of other events by considering the order in which Pindar’s 
poems were arranged by the Hellenistic scholar Aristophanes of Byzan- 
tium. Boxing, wrestling, pankration and pentathlon are placed next, and 
after them the foot-races. Boxing, wrestling and pankration were always 
favourite sports. They were all very demanding, and one could even be 
killed in these contests. The most brutal, to our view, was the pankration , 
which has been called ‘unarmed combat converted into a scientific 
sport’. 37 It was perhaps rather like a combination of wrestling and 
boxing, in which only biting and gouging were forbidden (cf. Pis. to Vol. 
iv, pi. 208). Yet as many as eight odes of Pindar celebrate pankratiasts, 
and Philostratus called it ‘the fairest of all contests’ ( Imag . 11.6). 

One of the leading themes of Pindar’s poetry is that of the inheritance 
of natural ability from one generation to another. In fact, athletic success 
did tend to run in families in ancient Greece. 38 An outstanding example 
in the fifth century was the family of Diagoras of Rhodes, the subject of 
Olympian vii, which celebrates his boxing victory of 464. His three sons 

36 Cf. Bowra 1953 (j 6) 25-6, but sec also Plut. L yc. 22.4, and de Ste Croix 1972 (g 36) 354-5. 

37 Cf. Harris 1964 (k 56) 106. 36 Harris 1964 (k 36). 

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236 8 d . panhellenic cults and panhellenic poets 

and two of his grandsons all won victories at Olympia in boxing and the 
pankration, and one of the sons, Dorieus, had a succession of triumphs at 
all four major games as well as elsewhere. Dorieus also had a notable 
political and military career. Exiled from Rhodes to Thurii in the 
Peloponnesian War, he commanded a fleet against Athens in 410, was 
captured and condemned to death, but was then spared because of his 
athletic fame. Later, when Rhodes sided with Athens, Dorieus was 
captured by the Spartans, who showed their lack of tolerance by putting 
him to death. 

Another family praised by Pindar was that of the Oligaethidae of 
Corinth. In Olympian xiii, for Xenophon’s victories in the foot-race and 
pentathlon in 464, Pindar says that they have already won sixty victories at 
Isthmia and Nemea in the past (96—100), and he alludes to a host of 
successes at other festivals throughout the Greek world (1—2, 1 3—14, 29- 
46, 1 01 — 1 3). 39 

Epinician odes sometimes include compliments not only to the 
athletes and their families, but also to their trainers. 40 By the fifth century 
training was already a specialized and professional affair, which went 
with the development of theories about diet and health. One tradition 
connected the concentration on a meat diet for athletes with Pythagoras 
(D.L. viii. 1 2, Porph. VP 1 5), while another put this innovation later, in 
the early fifth century (Paus. vi.7.10). By Euripides’ time the develop- 
ment of such a regime had evoked the criticism of athletes as gluttons, 
which later became a commonplace (Ath. 41 2D ff), and we find frequent 
protests against athletic training as not conducive to a balanced state of 
health (e.g. Hippoc. De Alimento 34, PI. Rep. 403e8ff). There was a saying 
that training made athletes shine like the columns of the gymnasium but 
it also made them as solid as the stone of which these were made (cf. Plut. 
Mor. 133 d)! 

These games were not open to women as competitors, although they 
could enter chariots as owners in the men’s races at Olympia. Women 
had their own athletic contests on other occasions. 41 At Olympia, for 
example, unmarried girls ran races in the stadium at the ancient festival 
of Hera (Paus. v. 16.1). Pausanias also tells us that at Olympia married 
women were not even allowed to watch the games, with the exception of 
the priestesses of Demeter Chamyne (vi.20.9, v.6.7). Some modern 
scholars believe that this ban extended to unmarried girls also, but 
Pausanias’ text states that they were allowed to be spectators, and Pindar 
seems to envisage girls, probably at Cyrene, watching the contests which 
he mentions at Pythian ix.97— 103. 

39 Cf. Barrett 1978 (j 4) 1—20. 

40 Cf. Harris 1964 (k 36) 170-8; Gardiner 1910 (k 33) 122-32; Kramer 1970 (k 52) 64-107. 

41 Cf. Harris 1964 (k 36) 179—86. 

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2 37 


The epicinian ode was a specialized variety of the hymn to a god or a 
hero, and it was a late development in the history of Greek choral lyric 
song. The first who is recorded as having composed such songs in praise 
of athletic victors was Simonides of Ceos ( c . 557-468). Very few 
fragments of these poems survive ( PMG 506— 19). 42 Simonides com- 
posed these songs on commission and for payment, and he enjoyed the 
patronage of several of the most powerful rulers of his time. Hipparchus 
is said to have persuaded him to come to Athens by offering rich gifts and 
fees, and he also spent some time in Thessaly, supported by the Aleuadae 
and Scopadae. During the Persian Wars he was again at Athens, where 
he was friendly with Themistocles, and he ended his life at the court of 
Hieron of Syracuse. Simonides very quickly acquired a reputation for 
greed and for a mercenary attitude to his art (cf. Xenophanes 21 bud— k 6 , 
Ar. Peace 697—9, Arist. R bet. 1 39ia8, 1405 b24, Callim. fr. 222, etc.). Such 
an attitude is criticized by Pindar ( Isthm . 11.1— 11), and the ancient 
commentators assume that he has Simonides in mind, but we do not 
know if this is so. 43 

There was a legend later that a victorious boxer refused to pay 
Simonides the whole of his fee for a poem, telling him to ask the Dioscuri 
for the rest, because he had spent so much of his song in praise of these 
deities. At the victory feast they appeared at the door and asked to speak 
to Simonides. When he came out they had disappeared, but the house 
then collapsed, killing all inside ( PMG 510). This story does at least 
suggest that Simonides was capable of devoting only a minor part of his 
poem to direct praise of his patron. Some of the surviving fragments also 
seem to show that he did not always adopt a very serious attitude 
towards the occasion of the poem (507, 514, 515). Once, however, he 
indulged in a remarkable hyperbole, when he said of Glaucus of Carystus 
that ‘even the strength of Polydeuces would not have raised a fist against 
him, nor the iron son of Alcmene’ (509). Again, he may not have been 
entirely serious here! 

This new type of praise poem was very rapidly developed into a highly 
elaborate and complete art form by Simonides’ successors Pindar and 
Bacchylides. Pindar is said to have been born in 5 18 b.c. at Cynoscepha- 
lae in Boeotia (Suda s.v. IllvSapos, Scholia vetera in Pindari carmina, ed. 
Drachmann, 1.1.1). 44 Of his seventeen books of poems only the four 
books of the epinician odes survive, together with a larger number of 
fragments of other types of poetry. We thus possess at least forty-four 

42 Cf. Frankcl 197} (j 39) 434—6, and Bowra 1961 (j 8) 308-17. See also Barrett 1978 (j 4) 1-20. 

43 Cf. Lefkowitz 1981 (j 63) 50- 3. 

44 Cf. Lefkowitz 1981 (j 63) 57—66, 155-7 for traditions about Pindar’s life. 

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complete poems of Pindar. The last book, containing the Isthmian odes, 
is defective at the end. These poems are said by Eustathius to be ‘more 
human, less mythological and less obscure than the rest’, and hence were 
more popular in later antiquity ( Scholia Pindari , ed. Drachmann, 111.303— 

9 _I 0 - 

Pindar’s earliest surviving datable poem, Pythian x, was composed in 
498 when he was only twenty, and his last, Pythian vm, over fifty years 
later in 446. He wrote for patrons from many parts of the Greek world. 
His longest poem, Pythian iv, is dedicated to Arcesilas, king of Cyrene, as 
is Pythian v, but he wrote many poems for Sicilian patrons, especially 
Hieron of Syracuse and Theron of Acragas, and also a substantial 
number for Aeginetan victors. The Olympian and Pythian odes are, for 
the most part, securely dated by ancient records, whereas the Nemeans 
and Isthmians are not. 

Bacchylides of Iulis in Ceos was the nephew of Simonides. His exact 
dates are uncertain, but he was composing in the same period as Pindar, 
sometimes for the same patrons and in competition with him. 45 In his 
fifth ode he celebrated Hieron’s success at Olympia in the horse-race of 
476, the subject of Pindar’s first Olympian , and in the fourth Hieron’s 
chariot victory of 470 at Delphi, the theme of Pindar’s first Pythian. The 
third commemorates his chariot victory at Olympia of 468. As he calls 
Hieron a (guest-friend) in Ode v(n) he had presumably already 

visited him in Sicily by 476. Odes vi and vii, for Lachon of Ceos, are dated 
to 45 2 by a papyrus fragment of the Olympic register (P. Oxy. 222.ii.18). 
There was also a tradition that at some stage Bacchylides was exiled from 
Ceos to the Peloponnese (Plut. Mor. 605 c). 

Of Bacchylides’ work we possess the remains of at least fourteen 
epinician odes and six dithyrambs, found in 1896 on two papyrus rolls, 
together with a number of fragments of other poems. 

Like Simonides these poets worked on commission, and they fre- 
quently allude to the hospitality and generosity of their patrons. 46 
Sometimes the poet himself was present at the performance of his work, 
but he could also send a poem to be performed at the victor’s home. 
Some of the shortest songs seem to have been intended to be sung at the 
place where the victory was won (e.g. Ol. xi; Pyth. vi), but more often 
they were performed after the athlete returned home, sometimes at the 
door of his house (Nem. 1. ijff; Isthm. vm. iff) or at a temple {Pyth. xi. iff). 
Although designed primarily for performance by a chorus of young 

45 Cf. R. C. Jcbb, Hacchylidts (Cambridge, 1905) 1-26; Scveryns 1933 (j 98); Machler 1982 (j 75) 

46 On conditions of composition and performance of epinician poems, cf. Frankel 1975 (j 39) 
429—33, and Bowra 1964 (j 9) 161—2. 

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2 39 

men, they could also be sung individually, for example by a member of 
the victor’s family on later occasions ( Nem . iv. 13—16). The songs were 
intended as artistic heirlooms for the family of the athlete, preserving his 
memory for all time to come. A special copy might even be kept in a 
temple in the victor’s city, as was said to have been done with Olympian 
vii ( Scholia Pindari, ed. Drachmann, 1. 19 5.1 3-14). 

Epinician poems regularly contain statements made in the first person 
singular. 47 Since the time of the ancient commentators there has been 
debate as to whether these refer to the poet himself, to the chorus who 
are to sing the song, or even to the victor. Some instances can, however, 
only refer to the poet (e.g. Pyth. 111.63—79), and in general one may 
assume that this is the case, unless there are strong grounds for doubt. 
The poet does not introduce himself merely for advertisement, but 
rather to add authority to what he says. As the Muses’ spokesman (Pind. 
Paean vi.6), he is entitled to a special respect, both in praising and in 
giving advice. By alluding to his personal relations with his patron, or 
the victor’s city, he also gives greater validity and immediacy to his 
praise. Such personal references can be regarded as an epinician 
convention, but this in no way detracts from the genuineness of what the 
poet says of himself on such occasions. 

About the musical aspects of these songs, or how they were danced, 
little is known. There are frequent references to accompaniment by 
either the lyre, or lyre and flutes together. The terms Dorian, Aeolian 
and Lydian are sometimes used with reference to the song ( 01 . xiv.17; 
Nem. viii. 1 5; probably Ol. 1.102), or the instrument ( 01 . 1.17, v.21; Pyth. 
11.69; Nem. hi. 79), or the dance (Ol. 111.4-6; Pyth. vm.20); but the precise 
meaning of these terms in such cases is uncertain. For dancing, we 
possess some brief statements in late sources, according to which in 
triadic songs the strophe was sung as the dancers circled in one direction, 
the antistrophe as they circled in the opposite direction, and the epode while 
they stood still. 48 We are also told that Greek dancing in general was 
mimetic, expressing in its movements or poses character, emotion and 
action (Arist. Poet. 1447327-8; PI. Leg. 653d; Plut. Mor. 747A-8D). But it 
is hardly possible to reconstruct what this may have meant for epinician 


These epinician odes are composed in a literary language which 
combines an overall colouring of Doric (the traditional dialect of choral 

47 Cf. Lefkowitz 1963 (j 62) 177—253. 

48 Cf. Farber 1936 (j 36) 11. 14-19; Mullen 1982 (j 80) 21—31, 225-30. 

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lyric poetry) with the language of epic, and also a number of Aeolic 
features. 49 They are written in either Doric (what is now know as 
dactylo-epitrite) or Aeolic metres, with the exception of Olympian xm, 
which mixes Aeolic with dactylo-epitrite. 50 They are usually triadic in 
structure, i.e. composed in groups of strophe , antistrophe and epode , but 
occasionally monostrophic, with a single stanza repeated several times. 
The shortest is only fourteen lines (Bacchyl. n), the longest 229 (Pind. 
Pyth. iv). Modern texts use a different line-numbering system for Pindar 
from that of ancient editions and commentaries. The Alexandrian 
scholars divided the lines into shorter metrical lengths, and it was 
Gottfried Hermann, followed by Boeckh, who first established that 
Pindar was composing in longer metrical periods than those of dramatic 
lyric poetry. 51 Pindar’s metrical structures are elaborate, and in the case 
of his Aeolic poems difficult to analyse. He differs significantly from 
Bacchylides in his tendency to avoid a correspondence between breaks in 
metrical and sense structure. In Pindar, word-end seldom coincides with 
the end of a colon or metrical phrase, and his sentences often run over the 
end of a period, strophe or triad. This kind of enjambment creates a 
counterpoint between sense and rhythm, which carries one forward, and 
gives much greater flexibility and variety to his poetry. This is especially 
marked in the poems of his maturity, although in his last works (e.g. 
Pyth. viii; Nem. xi) there is again a tendency towards structural 
simplification, which goes with a remarkable compression and powerful 
simplicity of language. 

Although their language owes much to earlier epic and lyric, Bacchy- 
lides’ vocabulary is usually traditional, whereas Pindar aims constantly at 
originality. He uses words far more sparingly than Bacchylides, and his 
expression is often elliptical, with abrupt, dramatic transitions and vivid, 
complex imagery. These features make him at first sight difficult to 
follow, but they also give his poetry great power and directness. Pindar 
aims to give an impression of the freedom and spontaneity of inspiration, 
but his technique is really very sophisticated, and he is more self- 
conscious about his art than any earlier Greek poet. Bacchylides’ style is 
smooth and easy. It has great charm, but seldom achieves real intensity 
(cf. [Longinus] Suhl. 33.5). He is at his best in extended narrative, as in 
the story of Ode v of Heracles’ descent to Hades, or of Croesus’ rescue 
from the pyre in Ode hi. His dithyrambs are dramas in miniature, full of 
life and colour. By contrast, Pindar’s narrative is rapid and impressionis- 
tic. He approaches well-known stories at a tangent, concentrating on a 
particular scene or moment, and leaving the audience to fill in the rest for 

49 Cf. Forssman 1966 (j 38); Nisetich 1980 0 8l ) 26—31; Maehler 1982 (j 75) 1.9-12. 

50 Cf. Dale 1969 (j 19) 41—97, and Nisetich 1980 (j 81) 31-9; Maehler 1982 (j 75) 1.14-23. 

51 Cf. Hermann 1809 0 5 3 ) an< ^ A. Boeckh, ed. Pindari Opera (Leipzig, 181 1—21). 

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2 4I 

themselves. This was a new and striking development in the history of 
Greek narrative style, whose repercussions were felt much later, 
especially in Hellenistic poetry. 

In their basic content epinician poems can seem quite predictable, and 
some modern scholars have wrongly labelled everything in this type of 
poetry as purely conventional. The poet’s primary aim is clearly to praise 
the victor and commemorate his achievement. This often leads to praise 
of his family or city, or both, and references to the exploits and fame of 
his ancestors. These may develop into a ‘mythical’ narrative. Alternati- 
vely the narrative element, which is a regular but by no means 
indispensable ingredient of the poem, may spring from some other 
aspect of the occasion, for example the place of the victory with its 
associated legends, or from some general reflection, stimulated by the 
victory. Such gnomic reflections are another regular element, and they 
usually serve as structural pivots for a transition from present to past or 
vice versa. Other recurrent motifs are (as in hymns) the opening 
invocation, and prayers for future success and prosperity, which can 
effect a transition, or alternatively conclude the song. 

Although these constituents seem simple enough in essence, the 
possibilities for thematic and structural variation are very wide, and 
there is always a tension between the poet’s inspirational freedom, which 
strives to escape from set rules and patterns, and the sense of a need to 
fulfil the primary task of praise, which is the poet’s debt ( chreos ) to the 
victor, and to keep a proportion between the parts of the song. Pindar 
speaks of the ‘ordinance’ ( tethmos ) of epinician song, which imposes 
obligations and limits on him ( Nem . iv.33-4; 01 . vii.88; Paean vi.54-7), 
and he often refers to the need for proportion ( metron , kairos) and brevity 
{ 01 . xni. 47-8; Pjth. 1.81-4, iv. 247-8, 286, ix. 76-9; Nem. x. 19-20; Isthm. 
1.60-3, vi. 5 6-9). 

From these diverse materials the poet constructs an elaborate, highly 
wrought work of art, which invites comparison with other refined forms 
of craftsmanship, such as architecture and sculpture, and the arts of 
weaving, embroidery and jewellery (cf. 01 . vi.1-4; Pyth. vi.7— 17, vn.3; 
Nem. iv. 8 1, v. 1-3; Pyth. iii.i 1 3; Nem. vn.77-9, vm.14-1 5; fr. 179 Snell, 
etc.; cf. also the frequent use of terms such as poikilos and daidallein). But 
the stability of the visual arts is combined and contrasted with the mobile 
quality of the spoken word, which is free to fly over earth and sea, and 
outlasts all material monuments. 

An important technique for welding this material together is that of 
thematic or verbal repetition. Pindar often uses ring composition, 
whereby a poem, or part of a poem, is framed by a series of recurring 
themes, usually repeated in reverse order. This is a fundamental device of 
early Greek poetry, especially narrative song. But Pindar frequently uses 

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less obvious patterns of imagery or ideas, sometimes repeated in the 
same metrical position, in order to give shape and direction to his subject 
matter. These patterns are infinitely variable and not easy to analyse. It is 
dangerous to overstress their significance, but they contribute to the 
overall effect of the poem. 

The opening invocation may be very brief, but it can also develop into 
a small preliminary hymn. (Pindar actually uses the word irpoolfiiov at 
Pyth. 1.4, vii. 2; Nem. 11.3; and vpvov TrpoKwpuov at Nem. 1v.11). 52 
Occasionally (e.g. 01 . xiv) the whole poem is in hymn form. Whereas 
Bacchylides often has a simple invocation of the Muses or Fame, Pindar’s 
proems are elaborate and varied. Sometimes he will invoke well-known 
deities, at others the victor’s city or the place of the victory. But he can 
also begin with a material object or element, which is seen as endowed 
with divine power, such as water and gold (O/. 1) or the lyre (Pyth. 1), or 
else with what would now be called an abstract idea, which he sees as 
divine, such as Truth ( 01 . x.4), Fortune (Ol. xm), Wealth (Pyth. v) or 
Quiet (Pyth. viii). 53 Pindar can invest these divinities with exceptional 
powers, as in his invocation of Theia (Divine Lady), the mother of the 
Sun (Isthm. v. iff), who is said to be the source from which gold derives 
its value, and the origin of all human success in contests on land or sea. In 
his frequent references to such abstract ideas as Time, Truth or Law, 
Pindar seems to be looking for principles at work in the world on a 
higher and more philosophical plane than that of the traditional Greek 
gods (cf. 01 . 11. 17, x.53-5; frs. 33, 169, 205 Snell). 

In his treatment of the Olympian gods Pindar adopts an explicitly 
critical attitude to traditional stories, rejecting those which he sees as 
straining credulity or being offensive from a moral point of view (Ol. 
1.25 ff, ix. 28— 41, etc.). Sometimes he will seem to accept the familiar 
version, only to surprise his audience by replacing it suddenly with one 
of his own. In Pythian ill, for example, he appears to be referring to the 
raven which brought news to Apollo of the infidelity of Coronis, but 
then he says that it was Apollo’s own omniscience which persuaded him 
of the truth (27—30). This device draws attention dramatically to the 
poet’s innovation. His gods are dignified and can appear remote. But 
there is also a tendency to stress their nearness, both in legendary 
narrative and also in the poet’s references to his own personal connex- 
ions with particular gods and heroes, for example Apollo (Pyth. vm.67- 
9; Paean vi.i— 18) or the Mother of the Gods and Pan (Pyth. m.77-9), or 
the hero Alcmaeon (Pyth. vm.56-60). Pindar’s allusions to the mystery 
cults of Demeter and Persephone, and to the doctrines about life after 
death and reincarnation which had developed around these, also show a 

52 Cf. Schadewaldt 1928 (j 91) 269-81. 

53 Cf. Frankel 1975 (j 59) 481—8 and Bowra 1964 (j 9) 84-8. 

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concern for the personal implications of religious belief, at its most 
crucial point { 01 . 11.5 3-83, frs 129-31, 133, 137). 

This paradoxical sense that the divine world is immeasurably separate 
in its eternal nature from the human, but that man can nevertheless come 
very close to the gods, is expressed in the proem to Nemean vi (1—7): 

Single of men, single of gods is the race. From a single 
Mother we both draw breath. But a total difference of power 
Keeps us apart: for the one is nothing, whereas the brazen 
Heaven remains a sure 

Foundation for ever. And yet somehow we resemble 
In greatness of mind or in nature the immortals: 

Although we know not by day or during the night-time 
To what line 

Fate has written that we should run. 

All success demands and is counterbalanced by effort and suffering, 
but song, as the ‘mirror for fine deeds’ ( Nem . vn.14) is the reward for 
labour, both now and in the future, with its promise of glory. The divine 
radiance of victory brings men joy and peace {Pyth. vm.95-7). Their 
celebrations echo the gods’ life of feasting, music and pleasure, and after 
physical death poetry offers immortality to a man’s name. Pindar’s 
eschatology occasionally goes further, suggesting that those who have 
lived exceptional lives on earth will eventually enjoy a special fate after 
death with the heroes in the Island of the Blest { 01 . 11.61-83). Bacchylides 
also describes how Apollo rescued Croesus from death, carrying him off 
to live with the Hyperboreans, ‘on account of his piety, because he sent 
the greatest dedications made by any mortal to holy Pytho’ (111.58-62). 
The rulers to whom these poems are addressed are praised for a similar 
magnanimity in the use of their vast wealth (Bacchyl. hi. 10-22, 63-6; 
Pind. 01 . 11. 90-100). By implication, such greatness of achievement, and 
the benefits it brought to one’s fellow-men, could offer hopes of a heroic 
fate beyond the boundaries of this life. 


Epinician poetry reached its peak of development very rapidly, and there 
were no worthy successors to the three great poets of this genre. Songs in 
praise of athletes continued to be composed. Two short fragments 
survive of a poem attributed to Euripides, celebrating Alcibiades’ 
chariot victories of 416 b.c. at Olympia {PMG 75 5— 6). 54 But this was an 
exceptional occasion, and we do not have any other surviving poems of 
this type. The great age of the epinician is the period immediately after 
the Persian Wars, when for the first time in the historical period the 

54 Cf. Bowra 1970 (j 7) 134-48. 

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Greeks were drawn together in a unity which found one of its most 
significant forms of expression in the panhellenic festivals. The threats 
from abroad also gave a special impetus to the old form of education, 
which linked musical culture and athletic training. At the time of the 
Peloponnesian War we see this system breaking down, and this break- 
down coincided with the destruction of the brief and fragile ideal of 
Greek unity. The athletic festivals continued to flourish throughout later 
antiquity, but never again do we find that unique combination of 
physical achievement and musical celebration (atbla and their apoina of 
song) which flowered in Greece in such a memorable way, in the course 
of the fifth century b.c. 

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Although what follows concentrates on the fifth century, it has to be seen 
in a larger perspective. Religious ritual is conservative and may survive 
for uncounted generations; its authority, for Greeks, is simply tra- 
ditional custom, nomos. It shapes society, but it is also affected by all 
changes on the political, economic or intellectual level. From the earliest 
times on, ritual activity concentrates on special occasions that stand out 
from everyday life and serve as markers in the flux of time — the festivals. 
The basic elements of these are simple: processions, dances, vows and 
prayers, animal sacrifices with feasting, and contests {agones) of various 
kinds; yet special variants and combinations make up a system of 
impressive complexity, characterizing the group or city concerned as 
well as the gods and heroes addressed in the cult. 

The rituals of Greek polis festivals contain elements of great antiquity. 
Particular traits of animal sacrifice as found especially in the Athenian 
ceremony of ‘ox-murder’, Buphonia, have been traced to the palaeolithic 
period, 1 and the women’s festival of Thesmophoria has been credited 
with a ‘stone age’ character, too. We are on firmer ground in stating that 
the linguistic form to designate festivals in Greek, especially the suffix 
-teria, had been established by the Mycenaean epoch. The form of 
months’ names derived from festivals, with the suffix -(ter) ion, is 
secondary, but still common to Athens and the Ionians from the islands 
and Asia Minor and must thus go back to the beginning of at least the 
first millennium. In fact there is a common stock of festivals characteris- 
tic of Ionians and Athenians which points to a common heritage: 
Apaturia (Hdt. 1.147), Lenaea, Anthesteria. No less characteristic is the 
division of the population into four phylai (tribes), each headed by a 
phylobasileus (tribal king); after the reform of Athenian phylai, the 
phylobasileis still continued to exist with their religious obligations and 
privileges. There must have been in addition a single basileus (king) for 
the polis as a whole; when yearly election of the magistrates had been 

1 Meuli 1946 (k 60); Burkert 1972 (k 12) 20-ji, 1 j j-61. 

2 45 

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introduced, the basileus was one of them, second in rank after the archon, 
with his chief duty to take care of the traditional festivals (Arist. Ath.Pol. 
5 7). 2 The priesthoods of individual gods in their several sanctuaries were 
the prerogative of certain noble families, including those of the cult of 
Athena Polias and Erechtheus-Poseidon on the Acropolis, of which the 
Butadai were in charge. 

When the Athenian laws were codified by Solon, the calendar of 
festivals and sacrifices formed part of them. This was no obstacle to 
further expansions and additions. By the middle of the sixth century the 
two festivals called ‘great’ surpassed all the others in splendour: the 
Panathenaea at the beginning of the civil year in summer and the ‘Great 
Dionysia’ in the spring; the archon was responsible for both. The 
Eleusinian Mysteries, supervised by the basileus, equally rose in 

The revolution of 5 10 which paved the way towards a more equal 
distribution of civil rights ( isonomia ) did not intentionally change the 
established system of cults. There were additions, especially the ten 
heroes of the phylav, there was increased public control of the finances of 
cults, with various bodies of elected officials in charge of the treasuries, 
expenditures and emoluments of sanctuaries. Sometimes special taxes 
were raised to finance a specific cult. 3 For the dithyrambic choruses, 
tragedy and comedy at the great festivals, especially the Dionysia, choregoi 
were selected from among the rich citizens who derived prestige from 
conspicuous expenditure. 

New impulses for change came through the historical events, the crisis 
of the Persian Wars with devastation of city and citadel and the ensuing 
victory which brought an enormous increase of power, wealth and 
influence and made Athens the centre dominating the Greek world. The 
programme of rebuilding launched by Pericles was almost exclusively 
concerned with the public sanctuaries. Only then did the Acropolis lose 
its function as a fortress and become the centre of state religion 
exclusively. The Hephaestus temple above the Agora and the Poseidon 
temple at Sunium still remain as well-known survivals of this epoch. 

During these years, about the middle of the century, political and 
social change was faced with a most profound challenge on the 
intellectual level in what is commonly called the sophistic movement. 
Independent thinking had developed in small coteries of men who read 
and wrote books, the ‘pre-Socratics’; now the consciousness of possible 
progress in knowledge and organization of life spread to a larger public, 
with men such as the ‘natural philosopher’ Anaxagoras and the ‘sophist’ 

2 The old hypothesis that the basileus by title and function was a continuation of the Mycenaean 
king has been disproved by Linear B: a Mycenaean king was called lvanax. 

3 Schlaifer 1940 (k 83) 233—41. 

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Protagoras leading the ranks. Their teachings shook the very foundation 
of established religion, the nomos, the authority of the forefathers. The 
traditional way of speaking about gods in the form of anthropomorphic 
myth was soon found to be unacceptable past remedy. But also the cults 
were felt to be old-fashioned; the ‘Buphonia’ became proverbial for the 
ridiculous attitudes of a hoary past (Ar. Clouds 985). 

The crisis led to polarization, which becomes manifest in a surge of 
trials on the charge of ‘impiety’ ( asebeia ); this now was found not only in 
sacrilegious acts, but in teachings and beliefs. 4 Both Anaxagoras and 
Protagoras were affected. In 399 a later victim was to be Socrates. 

The surprising fact is that the crisis of modernism did not destroy the 
system of cults either at Athens or anywhere else. This was not due to any 
spirited defence of traditional religion but rather to unreflective exper- 
ience which found the religious forms of common life simply irreplace- 
able. Many will have concurred with the matter-of-fact position of 
Pericles, who stated that we believe in the existence of immortal gods on 
account of the honours which they receive, and of the good things they 
bestow on us (Plut. Per. 8,9)- who would risk putting this to the test? Or 
witness Thucydides’ description of the fleet setting sail for Sicily (vi.32): 
a trumpet calls for silence, and the traditional prayers and vows are 
pronounced in unison, led by the sonorous voices of heralds; mixing- 
bowls are set up all along the piers; all the soldiers and the officials of 
Athens pour libations to the gods; even the onlookers join in the vows, 
and only when they have finished the libations with the sacred song, the 
paian, do the ships begin to move. Who could exclude himself from such 
an event? Even if the gods were found to deny their help, as in this case, 
there was nothing left but to try again. 

After the constitutional crisis of 41 1, restorative trends become 
noticeable. Among other ancestral laws, the revision and publication of 
which was organized, there was a comprehensive calendar of sacrifices to 
be set up in the ‘Porch of the King’ in the Agora; the huge task of 
compilation was entrusted to a certain Nicomachus who worked on it 
for about ten years; he was accused of accumulating more sacrifices than 
the city could possibly afford, but his work on the code was brought to a 
successful conclusion. 5 About the same time a new form of antiquarian 
literature was inaugurated which persisted for some generations: local 
chronicles dealing especially with mythical traditions in relation to 
Athenian institutions, cults and festivals, called Atthides . 6 We must not 
assume too much undisturbed continuity and scrupulousness in the 
performance of old rituals, but much of the religious system of the polis 

4 Dercnne 1930 (j 22); Rudhardt 1960(0 80); Fahr 1969 (k 26). 

5 IG i 1 239-40; LSS 10; LSCG 17; Lys. xxx; Dow i960 (d 22). 

6 Beginning with Hellanicus FGrH 323a; FGrH 323-9; Jacoby 1949 (c 57). 

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is seen to continue down to the Roman conquest and even beyond to the 
end of the pagan world, with the temples of the fifth century still 
presenting their gorgeous facades for the same festivals. Many Athe- 
nians would go on to experience their home as the place ‘where the 
mystery hall is opened in sacred ceremonies, where . . . the high temples 
and images of gods are standing, where there are the most sacred 
processions of the blessed gods, sacrifices adorned with beautiful 
wreaths for the gods and feasting at various times of the year, and 
especially the joy of Dionysus in spring’ (Ar. Clouds 302-1 1). 


The character of our sources changes with the general development. 
Much of the documentation still consists in the material remains of cults 
in the sanctuaries as recovered and analysed by archaeology. But the 
growth of literacy led to the greater regulation of religion, for laws, 
including leges sacrae, were published in the form of inscriptions under 
the pressure of the democratic system. There are fragments of sacrificial 
calendars prior to 480 ( IG i 3 230-2) and the regulations for the ‘precinct 
governors’ of the Acropolis, the ‘Hekatompedon inscription’; 7 there are 
similar regulations from the following epoch, e.g. from the Agora (IG i 3 
234 = LSCG 1) and from the Eleusinium (IG i 3 6 = LSS 3); then comes 
the big codification of Nicomachus (above, n. 5). Individual demes 
published their leges sacrae too, such as Scambonidae (IG i 3 244 = LSCG 
10) and Paeania (IG I 3 250 = LSS 18). 8 Similar codifications from the 
fourth century are relevant for the earlier period, too, such as the 
calendar of Erchia (LSCG 14) or the convention of the ‘Salaminioi’ (LSS 
J 9)- 

The fifth century saw the outburst of Athenian literature which has 
remained classic, especially tragedy and comedy. Tragedy, freely mov- 
ing in the sphere of myth, tends to refer to local cults by telling their 
‘causes’ (aitia). We find vivid representations of the Areopagus and the 
cult of the Semnai in Aeschylus’ Eumertides, of Colonus Hippius in 
Sophocles’ second Oedipus play, of Acropolis cults in Euripides’ 
Erechtheusp there are many shorter references to other local traditions. 
Comedy takes religious practice for granted in passing remarks and 
sometimes brings it live on stage, though in a parodistic vein, for 
example, the drinking contest of the Anthesteria (Ar. Acb. 1085-234), 
the women’s gathering at the Thesmophoria (Ar. Tbesm. passim), and 
even the chorus of Eleusinian initiates (Ar. Frogs 316-459). 

Historiography as inaugurated by Herodotus has invaluable accounts 

7 IC i 3 4; Jordan 1979 (k 44). 8 Mikalson 1977 (k 61). 

9 C. Austin, Nova I : ragmen la Suripidea in Papyris Keperta (Berlin, 1968) 39. 

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of nomoi and of various incidents connected with cults and festivals. Attic 
prose writing, which came into being in the last third of the fifth century, 
rhetoric as well as historiography, has allusions to and brief accounts of 
religious institutions; again, fourth-century authors supply much infor- 
mation that is valid for the fifth century as well. But for detailed 
knowledge of Athenian cults and festivals we depend primarily on the 
‘Atthidographers’ (above, n. 6), fourth-century authors of Attic chron- 
icles, although these survive only in fragments, mainly in commentaries 
to Attic poets and orators. 

A word needs to be said about iconography as a source for the 
understanding of Athenian cults. 10 Attic painted pottery was produced 
in large quantities, and among the thousands of often conventional 
pictures there are some clearly depicting religious ceremonies, pro- 
cessions, sacrifices and dancing. They are not numerous, except for 
Dionysiac scenes, and interpretation is often difficult. One class of jugs 
belongs to the Choes festival at the Anthesteria, 11 another group of 
characteristic representations has women worshipping a very primitive 
image of Dionysus; these have come to be called ‘Lenaean vases’, 12 but 
on insufficient evidence. A few interesting pictures of the Dionysiac ship 
waggon still belong to the sixth century, as does a unique representation 
of the phallophoria . 13 On the whole, fifth-century art is less concerned 
with group action. A celebrated exception is the Panatheniac frieze 
encircling the cella of the Parthenon, 14 a unique self-representation of the 
Polis at her ‘great’ festival in the presence of her heroes and her gods. 


Greek calendars are composed of lunar months that shifted from year to 
year, unlike the dates computed by the Julian calendar in modern 
chronology. The Athenian year begins in summer after harvest, with the 
first month, Hekatombaion, roughly corresponding to July. This and 
the following months are each named after a festival: Metageitnion, 
Boedromion, Pyanepsion, Maimakterion, Posideon, Gamelion, Anthes- 
terion, Elaphebolion, Munichion, Thargelion, Skirophorion. It is not 
only the similarity to other Ionian calendars that testifies to the antiquity 
of the system; another indication is the fact that by the sixth and fifth 
centuries some of the festivals implied in month names (Hekatombaia, 
Boedromia, Elaphebolia) had become quite insignificant in comparison 
with other festivals, celebrated in the same month, that had risen to 

10 A critical assessment in Rumpf 1961 (k 82); Met2gcr 1965 (1 1 10). 

11 Van Hoorn 1951 (k 88). 

12 Frickenhaus 1912 (1 65); Pickard-Cambridgc 1968 (j 85) 30-4; Burkert 1972 (k 12) 260-2. 

13 Pickard-Cambridgc 1968 (j 85) figs. 1 1 - 14 ; Simon 1980 (k 84) 284. Deubner 193 2 (k 23) pi. 22; 

Pickard-Cambridge 1962 (j 84) pi. iv. 14 Brommer 1977(1 27). 

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special splendour - Panathenaea in Hekatombaion, Mysteria in Boedro- 
mion, and Dionysia in Elaphebolion. It is interesting to note that most 
names of months refer to festivals of Apollo and Artemis, except for the 
four winter months from Maimakterion to Anthesterion, three of which 
include the ancient festivals of Dionysus, the rural Dionysia, Lenaea, and 
Anthesteria in turn. 

Yet there is no single system determining the calendar of festivals in 
the well-documented period, but a conglomerate of various circles, 
correspondences and oppositions that make a complex rhythm of life. 
There are the seasonal changes between winter storms (Maimakteria), 
spring blossoms (Anthesteria) and summer heat; there are the main 
agricultural events: sowing, reaping and vintage; there is the political 
symbolization of dissolution and a new beginning surrounding the New 
Year festival; there are the celebrations of the phratries and of cult 
associations of women. Moreover, responsibility for different cults 
rested with the basileus, the archon, certain priestly families, and in some 
cases with members of private cult organizations; furthermore, the 
demes, 1 3 9 altogether, had traditional cults of their own, each marked by 
its own peculiar stamp and paralleling the cults of the city. 

The New Year festival already had a special standing in the ancient 
Near East. At Athens it culminated in the Panathenaea on the 28 
Hekatombaion, but the preliminaries began almost two months in 
advance. The rituals concentrated on the main cults of the Acropolis, of 
Erechtheus, the aboriginal king who was most closely associated with 
Poseidon in cult, and his protecting deity, the ‘Athenian’ goddess, 
Athenaia, Athena, 15 who for the citizens is just ‘the goddess’, 77 deos. The 
approaching end of the year brought with it the need to clean the temple 
and to wash the garments of the goddess: Kallynteria, ‘Making tidy’, and 
Plynteria, ‘Washing’, are performed by women, and since the image of 
the goddess was veiled and the temple closed to visitors, this was a day of 
ill omen. 16 There follows a strange nocturnal ceremony, Arrhephoria, 
when two girls who have been living for almost a year in the service of 
the goddess on the Acropolis, and have taken part in the weaving of 
Athena’s peplos, are dispatched from the citadel by the priestess through a 
special passage close to the precinct of Aphrodite, carrying on their 
heads in baskets objects purportedly unknown to them as well as to the 
priestess. This ritual of t\\e arrhephoroi ot errhephoroi xl seems to reflect the 

15 Whether the goddess got her name from the city or vice versa is an old controversy. Word 
formation is in favour of Athenai> Athenaia. Burkert 1985 (k 16) 139. 

16 For the date of Plynteria there are conflicting testimonies, Mikalson 1975 (o 59) i6of, i6jf; the 
calendar of Thorikos (SEGxxx 111.147, lines 52—3) has Skirophorion,notThargelion. The Plynteria 
procession is to be kept distinct from the Palladion procession, Burkert 1970 (k 11). 

17 errhephorein is the form used in Attic inscriptions since the third century b.c.; the literary texts 
have arrhephoros-, the word should mean ‘dew-bearer’; Burkert 1966 (k 10). 

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Structure of puberty initiations, the seclusion of ‘virgins’ ending in an 
encounter with Aphrodite, generation and birth. There is a correspond- 
ing myth about the daughters of Cecrops, the first king on the Acropolis: 
they opened a secret basket at night against the goddess’ instructions, 
discovered the earth-born divine child Erichthonius (= Erechtheus) 
encircled by a snake, and jumped panic-stricken to their deaths from the 
Acropolis rocks. Later, by the middle of Skirophorion, at the ceremony 
called Skira, the priest of Erechtheus and the priestess of Athena leave 
the citadel in procession and proceed towards the frontier on the way to 
Eleusis; two days later the ‘Heralds’ ( Kerykes ) perform that proverbially 
old-fashioned sacrifice, the ‘ox-murder’, Buphonia, right on the Acropo- 
lis, in honour of ‘Zeus of the City’, whence the festival was called 
Dipolieia. By an elaborate trick the sacrificial bull was made responsible 
for his own death: several animals were driven around a table filled with 
vegetable offerings, and the one which first touched the food was slain 
immediately; but the ox-slayer had to flee in his turn, and there followed 
a mock trial in the prytaneion at which the participants had to shift the 
‘guilt’ of killing the ox from one to another, until the knife itself was 
found to be the murderer and thrown into the sea. This curious ‘comedy 
of innocence’ may be of special antiquity, as analogies in Siberian 
hunters’ costumes suggest (above, n. i). It acts out and playfully 
overcomes the antinomy inherent in all sanguinary sacrifice: killing for 
food becomes a ritual to honour a god. This uncanny act falls into the 
gap separating the old year from the new and in a way links Athens with 
Eleusis: myth has Erechtheus perishing in the first Athenian war against 
Eumolpus of Eleusis, while his widow became the first priestess of 
Athena (above, n. 9). 

Hekatombaion, the New Year’s month, once more recalls disorder 
with the festival of Kronia - analogous to the Roman Saturnalia - when 
slaves are treated to a feast and may revel freely through the town. This 
has an air of the past golden age, when Kronos was king, before Zeus 
took over by force. Normal order is finally restored with the Panathe- 
naea, the festival of Zeus’s formidable daughter. There are no longer 
perplexing or scurrilous rites, but the normal elements of festivals in 
stately parade. After an all-night festival {pannychis ), the day begins with a 
torch-race from the grove of Academus through the city gate and the 
market-place up to the Acropolis to light a fire on the altar of Athena; 
there follows the great sacrificial procession towards the goddess 
displaying the new garment (peplos) - later it was hoisted like a sail on a 
ship waggon -, the enormous feast, and contests {agones), with both 
musical and sports events. An archaic feature is the apobates ceremony, 
when men in light armour jumped from chariots at full speed and 
continued with a foot-race; this was said to have been invented by 

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Erichthonius and seems to symbolize the king taking possession of the 
land. Panathenaic victors received amphorae filled with olive oil as a 
prize, the special product of Attic soil granted by Athena and her father. 
The Panathenaea, especially its sports events, was celebrated on a large 
scale every fourth year; the intention had been, in 562, to create a 
panhellenic festival equivalent to the Olympic Games. This plan had 
failed; but with the new glory acquired through the Persian Wars the 
festival was to represent Athens itself, bound to the goddess by a 
divinely sanctioned, civilized order. 

While the second month seems to have no major festival, Boedromion 
and Pyanepsion (roughly September/October) contain celebrations 
concerned with agriculture and the fertility of the soil as autumn sowing 
approaches. The mysteries on 19/20 Boedromion are taken to reflect the 
gift of grain brought to Eleusis by Demeter, even if the emphasis comes 
to be more and more on death and afterlife. It is the hierophant of Eleusis 
who proclaims at the beginning of the next month, 5 Pyanepsion, the 
‘Festival before sowing’, Proerosia ( LSCG 7), with special sacrifices 
which are to guarantee good crops; similar sacrifices will accompany 
‘Sprouting’ ( Chloaia ), ‘Shooting of stalks’ ( Kalamaia ) and ‘Blossoming’ 
{Antheia) of the corn. But it is also in this connexion that the festival of 
women, Thesmophoria, takes place in Athens on 10-15 Pyanepsion: 
sacrificial pigs are thrown into crevices or subterranean receptacles, 18 
and the putrefied remnants of the last year, hauled up again, are put on 
the altars and later mixed with the seed, the clearest case of agrarian 
magic in Attic ritual. 

Pyanepsion also had a festival associated with vintage, which could 
not be fixed in the calendar. At the Oschophoria, vine twigs with grapes 
( oschoi ) were carried in procession towards a sanctuary of Athena Skiras 
at Phalerum; there was a race of the ten phylai as well, but the texts seem 
to be confused, and the details are controversial. 19 

Maimakterion, the month of winter storms, had a purification festival, 
Pompaia, about which not much is known. With Posideon, the series of 
Dionysus festivals begins. The ‘rural Dionysia’ were held in the villages 
at different days during the month; most conspicuous were those in the 
Piraeus. A he-goat was led to sacrifice, and a wooden phallus was carried 
in procession. From an Athenian perspective these festivals had a flavour 
of peasant simplicity and ribaldry, Dionysiac vitality erupting from the 
frozen structures of winter and orderliness. There was also a strange 
ceremony called Haloa, of the ‘threshing-floors’(P), when women met in 
secret and were said to indulge in licentious behaviour. 

The festival of Lenaea in the next month, Gamelion, must have been 

18 Wrongly connected with skira by Deubner 1932 (k 23) 4of, cf. Burkert 1985 (k 16) 242-3, 

19 See Jacoby’s commentary on FGrH 328 f 14—16; Kadletz 1980 (k 46). 

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2 5 5 

Fig. 32. Festival at a pillar image of Dionysus from an Attic red-figure stamnos by the Dinos 
Painter, about 420 B.c. (Naples, Museo Nazionale 2419; ARV 2 1 1 ; 1, 2; after E. Pfuhl, Malerei and 
Zeichnungder Griechen (1923) fig. 382.) 

one of the old and characteristic Dionysus celebrations; many Ionian 
cities call the corresponding month Lenaion. Lettai is a name for 
Bacchants. But hardly any details are known. The so-called Lenaean 
vases (Fig. 32) have women mixing wine and dancing in front of a 
primitive image of Dionysus, made for the occasion and consisting of a 
simple mask suspended from a column with a cloth wrapped around to 
indicate a garment, adorned with wreaths and branches but without 
hands or feet; but the attribution to either Lenaea or Anthesteria remains 
unclear (above, n. 1 2). State management of the Lenaea was introduced 
in 440 when it was made a second occasion, besides Dionysia, for the 
staging of comedies. 

Much more is known about the Anthesteria, the festival which gave 
its name to the following month. This, too, is shared with Ionia, and it is 
thus correctly called the ‘older Dionysia’ (Thuc. 11.15.4). The name 
suggested ‘flowers’ to the Greeks, but the main subject was the new wine 
that had been stored during the winter and was tasted for the first time in 
spring. Thus the first day of the festival, 1 1 Anthesterion, is ‘Opening the 
jars’, Pithoigia. Offerings were brought to the little sanctuary of 
‘Dionysus in the Marshes’, iv At/xvat s, which was opened only in the 
evening of this day and during the next. This, the 12th of the month is 
called Choes, ‘Jugs’, from the vessels employed in a drinking contest: in 
private meetings and in official banquets each participant had to empty 
one chous— more than two litres — of wine, beginning at a trumpet signal, 

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2 54 


Fig. 33. Attic red-figure chous, late fifth 
century b.c. (London, British Museum E 
5 36; after Van Hoorn 1951 (k 88) fig. 93.) 

and the winner received a prize. Children who had entered their fourth 
year were made to take part and offered a little jug of wine, together with 
other presents, as shown in representations on surviving choes vases. 
Children who died before they had reached the age of four were given a 
chous in their tomb, usually a miniature copy (Fig. 33). The drinking 
contest was a merry occasion that appealed to Aristophanes (Ach. 1085- 
234), but it was surrounded by strange taboos. The entire day of Choes 
was considered unclean, apotropaic twigs were hung at the doors, the 
doorposts were painted with fresh pitch; each guest at the gatherings had 
not only a chous of his own, but also a separate table, and silence had to be 
observed during the drinking. Uncanny presences filled the streets, 
masked people mocking at others from carts; tradition wavers between 
calling them keres, harmful ghosts, or kares, strangers, or even forgotten 
original inhabitants of the countryside. 20 Legend explained that the first 
Choes had been held when Orestes, the polluted murderer, had stayed 
with the king of Athens; hence the ‘day of defilement’ with its taboos, 
and avoidance of the common table. Another mythical account of the 
strange mixture of merry-making and uneasiness is the tale about the 
violent death of the first cultivator of the vine, Icarius, or even of the 
wine-god Dionysus himself, represented by the wine sacramentally 
consumed in the ceremony. The following night saw one of the most 
startling rituals — at least from a modern point of view — a ‘sacred 
marriage’, the wedding of Dionysus to the ‘queen’ of Athens, the wife of 

20 Burkert 1972 (k 12) 250-5. 

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the basileus, in a building called an ‘ox-shed’ ( boukolion ) in the market 
place. Some vase paintings seem to allude to the wedding procession, 21 
while the revellers brought their choes to the sanctuary ‘in the Marshes’ 
for a last offering to Dionysus. What ‘really’ happened in the boukolion is 
left to the imagination. The last day, of ‘Pots’, Chytroi, took its name 
from a special meal cooked in earthenware pots, a stew of ‘all kinds of 
cereals and honey’. None of the priests tasted it, 22 as none of the 
Olympian gods was invoked on this day but Hermes Chthonios, ‘of the 
Underworld’. The uncanny aspect of the festival is prevalent in these 
details, yet myth explained that the meal of ‘Pots’ and the sacrifice to 
Hermes had first been held by the survivors of the great flood, when they 
had reached firm ground again. The eery visitors are chased away: ‘Out 
with you, keres [or kares\V There were games and musical contests 
organized at the Chytroi, and there was a ceremonious and joyful festival 
of ‘swinging’ for children, traced by myth, though, to the sad event of 
Icarius’ daughter Erigone hanging herself. On the whole, the Anthes- 
teria seem to have retained a popular character for a long time without 
too much interference and organization on the part of the polis. Later in 
the month there were the ‘Litde Mysteries’, held at Agrae near the river 
Ilissus, and the ‘greatest festival of Zeus’ (Thuc. i.i 26.6), the Diasia, in 
the same region. This was for a chthonian Zeus, Meilichios, honoured 
with holocausts, but according to local custom the animals to be burnt 
were made of pastry. 

Elaphebolion must once have been the month of Artemis the 
‘huntress of deer’, elaphebolos, but from the sixth century onwards it was 
dominated by the ‘great’ festival newly introduced and second only to 
the Panathenaea in lavish equipment, the ‘City Dionysia’. The god who 
had his sanctuary installed at the south slope of the Acropolis had been 
brought from Eleutherae. The central procession which mirrored the 
advent of the god seems to have been basically a larger replica of the rural 
Dionysia, with he-goat and phallus, but the magnificence of the festival 
was manifested in choruses honouring the god, dithyrambs in which all 
ten tribes competed, with a bull for a prize, and the three days of tragic 
performances including satyr play, to which, since 485, a day of comic 
performances was added. Music and poetry finally got the better of 
ancient ritual. 

The festival of Munichia, which gave its name to the following 
month, was to honour Artemis installed at Munichia, the hill close to 
Piraeus. It was overshadowed, as it seems, by the parallel cult of Artemis 
of Brauron, transferred to the Acropolis by Pisistratus. The festival of 
Thargelia in the next month received more attention, when the first 

21 Deubner 1932 (k 23) p!. 18, 2; Simon 1980 (k 84) 279. 

22 Accepting the text of Theopompus FCrbl 115 p 347b, Burkert 1972 (k 12) 164b. 

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2 5 6 


bread produced from the new crops, called thargela, was offered to 
Apollo. This was connected with a much-discussed scapegoat ceremony: 
two men, noted for their ugliness or other physical defects, were chosen. 
They were adorned with strings of figs, one with white ones, the other 
with black, representing women and men respectively; thus attired they 
were chased out of town, carrying with them bad luck and uncleanness. 
Even if the more drastic procedures attested for other places — stoning, 
throwing from a cliff, even burning — seem to be absent from Athens, the 
inhumane selfishness inherent in such forms of ‘purification’ seems not 
to be to the credit of ancient ritual, even if it may mirror biological 
strategies. 23 

‘The good luck that has come from these sacrifices’ was the general 
justification of worship on which Nicomachus and his accuser would 
agree (Lys. xxx. 19). Piety was found to pay. As Euripides puts it, Athena 
is bound to help her polis of which she is ‘Mother, Mistress and 
Guardian’ because of the ‘honour of the many sacrifices’; yet for the 
participants this meant at the same time ‘the songs of the young, the 
hymns of the choruses, the cries resounding all night with the dance of 
the virgins from the airy hill’ (Eur. Heracl. 770—83). The pannycbis on the 
Acropolis at the Panathenaea was an unforgettable experience of a cult 
filled with joy and life which defined the identity of Athens. 


The social function of ritual, which has received much interest in this 
century, is so evident in Greek religion that we rather lose sight of its 
‘truly religious’ dimension. To begin with the nucleus of society: the 
concept of ‘family’ is commonly expressed in Greek by ‘hearth’ ( hestia ), 
which is at the same time a goddess who claims first offerings from all the 
meals. The newborn baby is carried around the hearth at the Amphidro- 
mia and thus integrated into the cult community of the family. The 
question asked in order to establish citizenship in the examination of 
candidates for the archonship takes the form: ‘Where is your Apollo 
Patroos and your Zeus Herkeios?’ (Arist. Pol. 55.3); to know the 
god of the phratry and to have a household protected by Zeus is to know 
one’s place in the city. Individual families had special cults which defined 
their status; some had claims to public priesthoods. Legitimate citizen- 
ship is conferred by the ‘brotherhoods’, phratriai, who meet at the 
Apaturia festival in Pyanepsion; the father has to present his child at the 
age of three, and later his grown-up son, to the meeting and pays for a 
sacrificial meal; marriage is validated in a similar way. Illegitimate sons 
have a mythical model in Heracles; the gymnasium of Heracles at 

23 Burkert 1979 (k 14) $9-77. 

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Fig. 34. Krateriskos from Brauron. (Brauron 
Museum; after L. Kahil, Antikt Kunst Beiheft i, 
pi. 6, 5 .) 

Kynosarges is open to them. The status of women finds various 
expressions in ritual. Women have special goddesses by whom they 
swear, they have their own festivals at which they may leave their 
apartments and gather ‘according to the ancient customs’ ( LSCG 36.1 1). 
The most important of these is Thesmophoria when women live 
together for three days in temporary barracks, forming, as it were, their 
own state with elected presidents; men are strictly excluded. The strange 
ritual of throwing pigs into subterranean caves has been mentioned as a 
kind of agrarian charm. The second day was a day of ‘fast’, Nesteia, made 
shorter by mutual jesting. The last day included a sacrifice for ‘beautiful 
offspring’, Kalligeneia, with an opulent meal. The crucial changes in a 
woman’s life, from girl through marriage to matron, were dominated by 
Artemis; virgins had to be ‘consecrated’ to Artemis of Brauron or 
Munichia before marriage (Craterus FGrH 342 f 9); serving as ‘bears’ 
{arktoi), of Artemis at Brauron, they probably had to spend some time in 
seclusion, with games and dances, 24 until they were restored to their 
normal state at the festival of Brauronia. 

The polis, as the more comprehensive community, had its own 
‘common hearth’, koine Hestia, established as a centre for the magistrates 
and the members of the Council dining together; there was also a temple 
of Apollo Patroos and of the Mother of the Gods in the market-place. 
But the supreme authority rested with the goddess of the Acropolis, 
Athena. There were on the Acropolis two signs of divine action, created 

24 Kahil 1965 (k 47), 1977 (k 48); Brelich 1969 (l 16) 240-79. 

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at the foundation of Athens according to myth, Poseidon’s little ‘sea’ of 
salt water and Athena’s olive tree; there was the wooden image of the 
goddess ( xoanort ) which received the new garment at the Panathenaea. 
Athena was also Ergane, ‘wool-worker’, as well as patroness of olive 
trees, but over against these more female and peaceful aspects the sixth 
century had already stressed the warlike features of the goddess: Athena 
striking down a giant was the recurrent subject woven into the pep/os, 
and it was shown in the pediment of the Pisistratean temple. The fifth 
century added the huge statue of Athena Promachos, ‘fighting in front’, 
and temple and priesthood of Athena Nike, ‘victory’ ( IG i 3 35-6). That 
the most sumptuous and beautiful temple was dedicated to Athena the 
Virgin, Parthenos, seems a contrast; it was probably to stress the 
untouchable, impregnable character of the goddess and her city. It is 
unclear, however, which form of the cult was installed at the Parthenon; 
all the old and venerable rituals pertain to Athena Polias finally housed in 
the Erechtheum. 

Erechtheus, who in cult appears to be identified with Poseidon, but 
distinguished from him in myth, is a peculiar case in so far as there seems 
to be a ‘loser’ on both levels: Erechtheus was crushed by Poseidon, 
Poseidon lost Athens to Athena. In more general terms the paradox is 
that the female, the goddess, is triumphant while the male partner 
represents the vanquished, the ‘chthonian’ principle. This structure is 
widely attested and probably quite old; it arose from ancestor cults and 
sacrifices and was to reinforce the dominating order in a patriarchal 
society; the vanquished powers below have to be reconciled lest they 
should thwart aggressive domination in the upper world. Thus Erech- 
theus is ‘appeased’ at the Panathenaea (Horn. J/.2.5 jof). 

Zeus, as everybody knew, was the supreme god; his altar held the 
highest spot on the Acropolis where the rites of the Dipolieia were 
performed. He had, in addition, his precinct outside the city walls as 
Olympius, where the huge temple, begun by Pisistratus, was left 
uncompleted until Hadrian (see CAH iv 2 295-6). According to Draco’s 
code, oaths were to be sworn by Zeus, Poseidon and Athena, in that 
order. Yet since Athena was the favourite daughter of Zeus, a sequence 
Zeus— Athena— Poseidon— Demeter was equally established for Athenian 

The need to take oaths was the strongest means of linking the gods to 
justice as required in everyday behaviour. For penal laws as codified in 
Draco’s thesmoi, special religious forms were established by tradition: 
different courts were tied to certain cults and provided with correspond- 
ing myths. Most prominent was the Areopagus with the worship of the 
‘Venerable’ avenging goddesses, the Semnai called ‘Eumenides’ in the 
play of Aeschylus; according to him the court was set up for Orestes, 

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while others said Ares himself was put on trial there for having slain 
Halirrhothius, son of Poseidon, who had tried to rape his daughter 
(Hellanicus FGrH 323a f 22); in both cases myth stresses the possibility 
that there may be ‘justified’ homicide. Involuntary homicide is the 
speciality of the courts ‘at the Palladium’, where a sacred image of armed 
Athena, allegedly brought from Troy, was worshipped by the clan of the 
Buzygai and ceremoniously escorted to Phalerum for a bath once a year 
(above, n. 16). A third court with a mythical background was at the 
Delphinium, a sanctuary of Apollo. However, the court that handled 
most legal proceedings in the fifth century, the Heliaia, established on 
the basis of the Cleisthenean system of phylai, was far less dominated by 
ritual and tradition, although of course purifications and oaths were 
included in the proceedings. In a similar way the general assembly of 
citizens, the ekklesia, was a rational organization; but it had still to gather 
in a ‘clean’ place, purified by the peristiarchoi through the slaughter of 
piglets and the burning of incense, and it could be stopped by a ‘sign of 
Zeus’, diosemia; the Athenians, though, were less prone to heed such 
signs than the Romans were. Most important, however, was ritual 
connected with warfare, consisting in various sacrifices when leaving the 
city, crossing the borders and engaging in battle; 25 it was the gods who 
granted victory. 

Three factors contributed to shaping and to some extent transforming 
this system in the course of the fifth century: the evolution of democratic 
government, patriotism born of the victory over the Persians, and the 
emergence of empire. All these had their effects on the organization and 
reorganization of cults. 

A most revolutionary measure initiated by Cleisthenes was the 
creation of ten new, totally artificial phylai. This had to find religious 
sanction at once: ten local heroes, out of a list of one hundred names 
(Arist. Ath. Pol. 21.6), were selected by the Delphic oracle and assigned 
to give the names to the tribes (the ‘eponymous heroes’). 26 Some already 
had individual cults, such as Cecrops on the Acropolis, Hippothoon at 
Eleusis, and Ajax at Salamis; others, such as Antiochus, seem to have 
become prominent only then; yet as it was the god of Delphi who 
proclaimed that it was ‘better and more profitable’ to worship them, 
innovation soon became tradition. 

An anti-tyrannical stance was strengthened with a cult of Harmodius 
and Aristogeiton, the so-called tyrannicides, established in the Agora in 
477/6. 27 The more conservative though anti-Pisistratid families found 
their ideal hero in Theseus, the democratic king. The Theseus myth had 
become popular by the end of the sixth century, presenting, as it were, an 

25 Burkert 1972 (k 12) 77 f; Pritchett 1979 (a ioi) vol. in. 26 Kron 1976 (k 55). 

27 Thompson and Wycherley 1972 (1 166) 1 

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Athenian contrast figure to Dorian Heracles. But Theseus was not 
included among the tribal eponymous heroes, which left the door open 
to assign him a special position. In 475, when Cimon conquered the 
island of Skyros, he discovered the relics of Theseus, as predicted by the 
Delphic oracle, and solemnly brought them to Athens; a spendid heroon 
was built in the Agora, admired for centuries; funeral banquets and 
games were instituted on 8 Pyanepsion; the Theseia remained one of the 
major festivals in Athenian tradition. 

A contrary move to accord worship not to a hero of the past but to the 
living ‘people’ themselves, Demos, was made by the middle of the 
century. 28 An image of Demos by Parrhasius (Pliny, HN xxxv.69), 
admired by later antiquity, may have been votive in character. If Demos 
is divine, he is not to be checked by human laws, and even gods will 
tactfully avoid censuring him. 

The rising influence of craftsmen among the citizens over against the 
old aristocrats is to be seen in the superior rank granted to Hephaestus, 
the god of smiths and potters. The Hephaestus cult plays a peculiar role 
in Athens. A crude and probably very ancient myth made Hephaestus, 
pursuing Athena, the father of Erechtheus-Erichthonius, the earth- 
born king. But only by 420 was a splendid festival, Hephaestia, 
organized ( IG i 3 8 2 = LSCG 1 3) with a torch-race in honour of the god 
of fire, after his temple, dominating the west side of the Agora, had been 
completed; it is still well preserved (see above, p. 218). It housed statues 
of both Athena and Hephaestus. Both Athena and Hephaestus were 
addressed in the festival of the smiths, Chalkeia, which marked the 
beginning of weaving the Panathenaic peplos. Craftsmanship seemed to 
balance warlike prowess. 

The anguish and triumph of the Persian Wars was nothing less than a 
religious experience. Many will have concurred with the word of 
Themistocles: ‘Not we have accomplished this, but the gods and the 
heroes’ (Hdt. viii. 109.3). The defeat of the barbarians was readily 
ascribed to their destruction of Greek temples everywhere. The tomb of 
the men who fell at Thermopylae was invoked as an ‘altar’ by Simonides 
(fr. 5 3 1 PMG), and later Pericles would put all the men who fell for the 
city on a level with the immortal gods (Plut. Per. 8.9). There were special 
festivals instituted in memory of Marathon (6 Boedromion), Salamis (16 
Munichion) and Plataeae (3 Boedromion); as for Marathon, the Athe- 
nians had taken a vow to sacrifice one goat for each Persian killed, and we 
have the word of Xenophon (An. in. 2. 1 2) that by his time they had not 
yet come to close the account. Themistocles demonstrated his singular 
position by founding a cult of Artemis Aristoboule, goddess of ‘best 
counsels’ (Plut. Them. 22). There were unforeseen incidents to be 

28 Kron 1979 (d 45). 

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memorialized as well: the cult of Pan the goat-god, on account of a vision 
which appeared to the long-distance runner Philippides on his way to 
summon Spartan help at the time of Marathon (Hdt. vi.105); the cult of 
Boreas, the north wind which badly damaged the Persian fleet (Hdt. 
vii. 1 89) (he, incidentally, was a son-in-law of Erechtheus): and even the 
cult of Pheme, ‘rumour’, that miraculously spread to announce the 
victory of the Eurymedon (Aeschin. 1.128; 11.145). 

The myth of Theseus fighting the Amazons, the perversely dangerous 
females from the fringe of ‘Asia’, was applied to Athens fighting the 
Eastern threat. This is reflected in the imagery of Attic poetry, but it 
attained official sanction with the dedication of Amazon statues, 
wrought by the foremost artists of the day, in the most splendid temple 
of Asia, the Artemisium of Ephesus. 29 Needless to say, the propagation 
of the cult of Athena Nike, with the beautiful temple to the right of the 
entrance to the Acropolis, was to express similar feelings of triumph. 
Nike was also seen alighting on the right hand of the chryselephantine 
statue of Athena Parthenos. 

This celebrated image by Phidias set up in the Parthenon established a 
new level of lavish magnificence; the similar and still more famous image 
of Zeus at Olympia followed suit. It was to outdo the huge golden 
Apollo of Delos. 30 The sanctuary of Delos, which had developed into a 
centre of the ‘Ionians’ at the time of Pisistratus and Polycrates, had been 
the obvious headquarters for the anti-Persian alliance. When these and 
the treasury had been moved to Athens, the construction of the 
Parthenon began. The hellenotamiai now officiated ‘from Panathenaea to 
Panathenaea’. As the alliance developed into imperial rule, the allies were 
made to participate in the Athenian cults, in both the ‘great’ festivals, 
supplying a phallus for the Dionysia and a cow and a panoply for the 
Panathenaea; they were also required to contribute first-fruit offerings to 
Eleusis, where huge silos were built to hold the incoming grain ( IG i 3 
78). The tribute paid by the allies, talent by talent, was carried through 
the orchestra of the theatre when large crowds would be present for the 
Dionysia (Isocr. vm.82); Athena received her share, to be assessed and 
controlled ‘from Panathenaea to Panathenaea’ (IG i 3 52A.27). The 
goddess would allow the funds to be used, among other things, for the 
building programme. Imperialism is approaching cynicism, without 
giving up the ritual frame of administration. 

The last cults to be introduced in the fifth century, though, were not 
the result of pride and imperial control. As a belated consequence of the 
disastrous plague, Asclepius, the god of healing, was brought from 
Epidaurus to Athens in 420. The snake representing the god was carried 
on a waggon, and Sophocles received it in his house until the sanctuary 

29 P. Devambez in L/AfC i (1981) 640-4. 30 Fchr 1979 (e 24). 

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was completed. The festivals of Asclepius were thoughtfully integrated 
with the celebrations of the Mysteries in autumn and Dionysia in spring. 
The sanctuary occupied a prominent place on the south slope of the 
Acropolis; however, the other Asclepius sanctuary in the Piraeus seems 
to have enjoyed greater popularity for a while. The last addition was the 
cult of the Thracian goddess Bendis, interest in whom had been aroused 
by the campaigns in the north and by the employment of Thracian 
mercenaries in the Athenian armed forces. 31 This festival brought the 
uncommon spectacle of a torch-race on horseback. The image of the 
goddess was thoroughly hellenized, but the quest for new gods was 
beginning to reflect uncertainties of identity. 


While the functional and practical aspects of religious activity in ancient 
cults are easily observed - the use and abuse of prestige and influence, the 
display of social roles, the greedy hopes for ‘all good things’ - there is 
another, more irrational side that tends to be obscured because it may 
appear as sheer superstition. Although there was an absence of revela- 
tion, of a sacred scripture and a theologically trained clergy, it was still 
believed that there were ordinances and counsels of the gods to be 
observed directly, through various ‘signs’ such as ‘sacrifices, the flight of 
birds, chance utterances, dreams’ (Xen. Hipparch. 9.9). In the countless 
uncertainties and anxieties of everyday life, in the private suffering of 
disease and in the common danger of war, divination of all kinds was a 
momentous factor in making decisions. 

The interplay of experience and tradition had long led to specializa- 
tion: on the one hand there were the established oracles, above all the 
Pythian sanctuary at Delphi; to consult it was complicated, costly and 
time-consuming, but its prestige remained paramount for generations. 
On the other hand there were charismatic individuals, ‘seers’ \manteis), 
who claimed special skills in interpreting the signs sent by the gods. 
They usually relied on family tradition, but they had begun to use books 
by the sixth century. Some were found to be especially successful and 
acquired riches and influence. Their greatest responsibility was to 
determine the correct time to engage in battle. Victory was thought to 
belong no less to the seer than to the military commander: the Delphic 
monument celebrating Aegospotami represents Lysander accompanied 
by his mantis (Paus. x.9.7). 

The enactment and development of cults in Athens constantly 
involved dealings with oracles and seers. Each major change in ritual had 
to be approved by Delphi; the impulse to establish new cults, but also 

31 IG i 3 1 36 with arguments for a date 413/12; LSS 6. 

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injunctions against their establishment, often came from seers. In order 
to have counsel permanently available, the demos appointed different 
kinds of ‘expounders’, exegetai, who either belonged to the Eleusinian 
Eumolpids, were selected by Delphi, or were chosen by the demos } 1 

Divination had played its part in overthrowing the tyrants. While 
Hippias was collecting oracles of Musaeus, the Alcmaeonid opposition 
had Delphi pronounce in favour of the liberation of Athens (no. 79). 33 
The eponymous heroes of the tribes were selected by Apollo (no. 80). 
Probably about the same time Athenians began to build their own, still 
well preserved, treasury at Delphi 34 and to send, at irregular intervals to 
be determined by special ‘signs’, a sacred embassy to Delphi to offer 
sacrifice and to bring back sacred fire from Apollo’s hearth. While we 
today suspect that the Delphic priests judiciously foresaw a Persian 
victory, contemporaries credited the defeat of the barbarians to Apollo; 
the tithe of the booty taken from the Persians was dedicated at Delphi in 
the form of splendid monuments. The Athenians especially erected 
monuments for Marathon and placed votive offerings from Salamis both 
in their treasury and in a special hall constructed beneath the temple 
terrace at Delphi. At that time Athens was granted promanteia , privileged 
access to the oracle. Thus Delphi was consulted with regard to the 
transfer of Theseus’ bones (no. 1 1 3 ), the colonies at Thurii (no. 1 3 2) and 
Amphipolis (no. 133); there were regulations issued for families such as 
the Praxiergidae (no. 1 24 = 1 G i 3 7) and surely on many more occasions. 
One oracle that acclaimed the demos of Athens as an ‘eagle in the clouds’ 
(no. 1 21) naturally enjoyed popularity with the Athenians. By the 
beginning of the Peloponnesian War, though, Apollo’s attitude had 
changed, and the god clearly took a stand against Athens (no. 1 37). The 
oracle authorizing the cult of Bendis (no. 30) was brought from Dodona, 
the oracle of Zeus second in importance to Delphi. Yet in 404 a new 
Delphic oracle forbade the annihilation of Athens (no. 171). 

The crowd of private seers in a city such as Athens must have been 
considerable. They were present at every sacrifice, and the officials had to 
heed them (Arist. Ath.Pol. 54.6). We know of two men, Lampon and 
Diopeithes, who rose to such prominence that they were repeatedly 
attacked in comedy. Lampon was active in the foundation of Thurii, and 
was even considered one of the ‘founders’ ( oikistes ) of the colony. He 
predicted that Pericles would prevail over his adversary Thucydides 
from the portent of a one-horned ram that had been found (Plut. Per. 
6.2), while Anaxagoras explained the prodigy rationally through his 

32 Oliver 1950 (d 62); Clinton 1974 (k 19) 89-93. 

33 The numbers following refer to the collection of Delphic oracles in Parke and Wormell 1 9 5 6 (k 
72) n; these numbers are also given in the more recent catalogue of Fontenrose 1978 (k 31) 
(Concordance 430-3). 

34 On its controversial date, Robertson 1973 (i 140) 1 167C 

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knowledge of anatomy. Lampon was elected to sign important state 
treaties in 421 (Thuc. v.19.2, 24.1); he cooperated with Eleusis and the 
Delphic oracle in bringing about the decree about first-fruit offerings ( IG 
i 3 78). Diopeithes had a decree passed which threatened with prosecution 
for asebeia those who ‘did not believe in the divine things or taught about 
things in the sky’ (Plut. Per. 32.2); tried on this charge Anaxagoras had to 
leave Athens. The ‘divine things’ were, primarily, the ‘signs’ by which 
the gods would give their directives; in the view of a man like 
Diopeithes, this was the very foundation not only of piety, but even of 
religion. The central role such signs played in Athenian religious 
practice must not be underestimated. 


The festival of Eleusis, which was known simply as ‘the Mysteries’, is as 
fascinating as it is elusive. Mysteries are initiation ceremonies with the 
obligation to silence, and the secrecy was strictly and deliberately kept 
throughout pagan literature. Yet the Mysteries were open to the public: 
‘whoever among the Greeks wishes is initiated’ (Hdt. vm.65 .4), and the 
huge Telesterion built by Ictinus, the architect of the Parthenon, held 
more than 3,000 mystai. The administration of the Mysteries was in the 
hands of the Athenian authorities, but the priestly functions inalienably 
belonged to the two families of the Eumolpids and the Kerykes. In 
investigations and lawsuits involving the Mysteries the non-initiated 
were bidden to leave the court; the majority would be those who ‘knew’. 
The ephebes regularly took part in organizing and protecting the 
procession from Athens to Eleusis; it started at a special sanctuary above 
the Agora, the Eleusinium. When Diagoras, called ‘the atheist’, provo- 
catively violated the secret of Eleusis, he was pursued through the whole 
Athenian empire, yet he escaped. 

Philosophically inclined writers spoke about the ‘two gifts’ Demeter 
brought to Eleusis, grain and the Mysteries. Both were intimately 
linked, as the same myth about the rape of Persephone and Demeter’s 
visit to Eleusis had to account for both. According to a late gnostic 
writer, an ear of corn was shown by the hierophant at the climax of the 
secret festival (Hippol. Haer. v.8.39). Yet the point of the nocturnal 
celebration, whatever its symbols, gestures and words might have been, 
was to arrive at ‘better hope’ for a life after death. This is already present 
in the earliest text, the ‘Homeric’ hymn to Demeter, and it persisted to 
the end of antiquity. The promise seems to have been general, with 
different possibilities of interpretation. 

We are well informed about the general programme (IG 11/111 2 
1078 = LSCG 8) and some details of organization. At some time 
participation in the ‘Lesser Mysteries’ in spring was made a prerequisite 

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(PI. Gorg. 497c). On 1 5 Boedromion the candidates assembled at Athens. 
There were purifications, including bathing in the sea, and the sacrifice 
of piglets, one for each person. Some kind of verbal explanation and 
instruction that prepared for what was to be ‘seen’ on the concluding 
night must have been part of the proceedings. The main event was the 
procession on the ‘sacred way’ to Eleusis, some 30 km from the city, on 
19 Boedromion. Priestesses carried ‘holy things’ in closed baskets ( kistai , 
while the crowd chanted the rhythmical cry ‘ lake h’ 0 lakche'\ this was 
soon understood as the invocation of a special daimon , Iakchos. With the 
arrival at the Eleusinian sanctuary the fast was broken, and after sunset 
the really secret rites began. We have some allusions: ‘wandering to and 
fro’, terror in the dark, and sudden ‘amazement’ (Plut. fr. 178 Sandbach); 
the Telesterion opened to admit the crowd, there were things ‘done’ by 
the hierophant and the priestesses, presumably in the dark, dimly lit by 
the torches of the torchbearer ( daduchos ); at some point a huge fire blazed 
up in the middle, ‘under’ which the hierophant was seen officiating. 
Persephone was called from the dead and somehow ‘appeared’, the 
hierophant exhibited the ear of corn, and proclaimed the birth of a divine 
child. The construction of the Telesterion gives some guidance to 
imagination, with steps rising on all four sides for the onlookers, and the 
anaktoron , a small rectangular building slightly off-centre with a door at 
its side, where the hierophant had his throne. ‘Thrice fortunate he who 
has seen these orgia,’ the shouts proclaimed. Yet we remain outside the 
circle of those who ‘knew’. Dances outside the building must have 
followed throughout the night, and there were bull sacrifices which 
guaranteed a copious feast even here. 

The Mysteries became part of the prestige of Athens and retained their 
authority, and their identity, for about one thousand years. They make 
strange company in the age of Euripides and Socrates. It remains for us 
to speculate how the Greeks succeeded in this very special festival in 
finding sense and ‘better hopes’ against the apparent senselessness of 


A pious man is one who is seen performing sacrifice and is known to 
make use of divination: these are the criteria by which Xenophon (Mem. 
1. 1. 2) tries to disprove the charge of asebeia against Socrates. Sacrifice, 
primarily animal sacrifice accompanied by libations and incense, goes 
together with prayers or rather vows which, if fulfilled, lead to votive 
dedications. All these activities involve spending property; the problem 
of whether the rich have better access to the gods begins to be discussed 
in this period. 

State cult and private worship are not to be seen as contrasts; they are 

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parallel and often intertwined. Like each private household, the city 
observes rites in honour of Hestia, Apollo and Zeus. A very wealthy and 
pious man such as Nicias made lavish dedications at Delos and Delphi, 
but every Athenian could go to the Acropolis to offer a humble gift to the 
goddess. The inscriptions and material remains from the Acropolis attest 
numerous, varied, and simple votives at this time. 35 The state cult would 
guarantee a rich meal to the citizens, at the Panathenaea, for instance; at 
the Apaturia and the Anthesteria, family celebration and public cult 
practically coincided. Each major business contract was sealed by oaths 
in a sanctuary. No merchant dared to engage in sea-faring without vows 
to the appropriate gods. The work of the peasant was obviously 
dependent upon Demeter and Dionysus. In sickness everybody would 
turn to the gods. Pericles installed a cult of Athena Hygieia on the 
Acropolis when a good craftsman, incidentally wounded in the con- 
struction of the Propylaea, had recovered (Plut. Per. 13.13). This cult 
was meant to bring together the goddess and private needs more closely; 
it was soon overshadowed, however, by Asclepius. 

There were countless minor sanctuaries installed by associations, 
families, or even individuals on special occasions. About 400 b.c., 
Archedemus, ‘seized by the nymphs’, adorned the cave of Vari south of 
Athens with inscriptions and reliefs ( 1 G i 2 778-80), solving, as we would 
put it, a private identity crisis through ritual activity. Beautiful offerings 
connected mainly with marriage, it seems, survive from the small 
precinct of ‘the nymph’ on the south slope of the Acropolis. 36 The cult of 
nymphs, goddesses of living water, was popular everywhere, as was 
Hermes: pillars of Hermes (Herms) were set up in both town and 
countryside to mark crossroads and neighbourhoods — vase paintings 
often show private sacrifices in front of them. Local associations, 
observing the cult of Heracles with substantial feasts, spread over the 
whole of Attica. There were still more groups celebrating Dionysus, 
Bacchic thiasoi, not always easy to distinguish from simple drinking 

It is perhaps more interesting that even women could be called 
together for private Baccheia (Ar. Lys. 1 1). Conspicuous was the cult of 
Adonis, the dying god beloved by Aphrodite. From Phoenicia the cult 
had spread to Greece by the time of Sappho, but it never received official 
status in the cities. The women raised a shrill lament over the death of the 
god from the roofs of their houses in early summer, disconcerting for 
men and men’s business (Ar. Lys. 389-96). 

Another foreign god who became notorious was Sabazios, a Phrygian 
variant of Dionysus. In certain Dionysiac thiasoi, the mythical singer 

35 IG i 2 401—760; Raubitschek 1949 (c 162); Graef and Langlotz 1933 (1 70) nos. 1330— 417. 

36 Travlos 1971 (1 171) 361-3. 

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Fig. 3 5 . Lead puppet in a box, from the Cerami- 
cus cemetery, Athens. (After Ath. Mitt . 81 
(1966) Beilage 1; cf. Kurtz and Boardman 1971 
(K 54) P- 46-) 

Orpheus was claimed as an authority, books of Orpheus were presented, 
and through a special and partially secret mythology startling doctrines 
about metempsychosis and the divinity of the human soul were circu- 
lated in radical opposition to the prevailing system of values; a special 
form of ‘life’ was demanded; a totally new kind of spirituality could be 
seen to be on its way. It is not clear, though, to what degree any 
permanent groups or ‘sects’ or ‘Orphics’ were established; the cult was 
promoted rather by itinerant ‘purifiers’ ( orpheotelestai ), who offered 
initiations as a cure for various practical needs. But some suspicion 
about private mysteries and new gods began to grow among the public. 
Some of this is seen in the picture drawn of the Socratic circle in the 
Clouds of Aristophanes in 423, and fun turned to hysteria with the 
mystery scandal of Alcibiades in 415, which resulted in numerous 

The trends towards the end of the century are not moving in any one 
direction. There is rational detachment, there is a quest for a new 
philosophical religion, there is scrupulous conservatism, there is growth 
even of sheer superstition. While scientific medicine launched theoretical 
attacks on healing by magic, amulets were provided even for Pericles 
when struck by the plague (Plut. Per. 38.2), and from the end of the 
century comes the oldest defixio found at Athens, a puppet pierced and 
buried in the Ceramicus to harm an enemy (Fig. 3 5 ); 37 this was meant to 
be serious. Intellectuals were developing new concepts of pure divinity, 
all-powerful, all-knowing and without human shape, passions or needs, 
yet practical manipulation remained a strong element in the piety of the 
man in the street. There was growing complexity, but a radical break did 
not come for centuries. 

37 Trompf 1958 (k 87); Jeffery 1955 (c 136) 67—76. 

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B. M. W. KNOX 


In the context of modern Western thought a title which associates these 
two words raises expectations that the text so introduced will discuss the 
influence exercised on written works of the imagination by the doctrines 
of a religious establishment and the adaptation or critique of those 
doctrines by the writers of the works. For fifth-century Athens, 
however, the terms ‘religion’ and ‘literature’ (neither of which has a 
satisfactory equivalent in ancient Greek) serve to designate activities 
which differ significantly from their modern counterparts. 

Literature, for us, is something written and to be read, but, though 
there were undoubtedly books and readers in fifth-century Athens, the 
principal medium of literary communication was not written text but 
public performance. The Homeric epics were recited by trained specia- 
lists who excelled in dramatic presentation; epinician odes for victories 
won at the great athletic games were sung by a dancing chorus at the 
victor’s home; dithyramb, tragedy and comedy were competitive events 
mounted at the city’s expense in the huge theatre of Dionysus. All this is 
not to say that there were no books or readers in fifth-century Athens; 
the evidence, literary and pictorial, suggests widespread literacy and 
even, in the final decades of the century, a book trade. But there can be no 
doubt that for most Athenians the message of the poets, lyric, epic and 
above all dramatic, was conveyed not by the written word but by the 
word spoken and sung. 

For the fifth-century Athenian audience the dominant literary pheno- 
menon was the drama. Epic was a voice from the far past; lyric and choral 
poetry a fading tradition, associated with the aristocratic and tyrannic 
regimes of the Archaic period. But tragedy and comedy, though their 
origin can be traced at least as far back as the era of Pisistratus, owed the 
splendour of their fifth century achievements to the democracy which 
had played so crucial a role in the defeat of the Persians. The festivals 
which were the occasion for these dramatic performances, the Dionysia 
and Lenaea, were high points of the civic calendar; they were also 


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ceremonial days in the city’s religious calendar, for the performances 
were a celebration of the god Dionysus. 

By the fifth century the cult of Dionysus was widespread in Greece, 
but it was only at Athens that it gave birth to the theatre. The nature of 
the process which gave rise to this unique development is unfortunately 
far from clear. In literary treatments of the Dionysiac myth (the Bacchae 
of Euripides chief among them), as well as on black- and red-figure 
Athenian pottery, the Dionysiac cult is portrayed as an ecstatic religion 
which released the worshippers from the bonds of constraint imposed by 
civilized life. It appealed especially to the women, confined as they were 
in Greek society to the house and the daily round of household duties; it 
sent them out to dance, dressed in fawnskins, on the hills among the pine 
trees as Maenads, the mad women of Dionysus. The god brings a 
temporary return to nature, to communion with the creatures of the wild 
and an assumption of their innocence and strength. None of this, 
however, is reflected in the organization of the festivities which in fifth- 
century Athens bore the name of the god, Dionysia, and his female 
devotees ( lenae ), the Lenaea. To judge from the cult aspects of the 
dramatic festivals, Dionysus seems to have come to Attica not as a spirit 
of the wild forest but as a fertility god, with power over the agricultural 
crops on which the city’s life depended. This is how he appears in the 
Acharnians (241-83) of Aristophanes, where Dicaeopolis, proud 
beneficiary of a separate peace, celebrates the Rural Dionysia ( ta kat’ 
agrous), a festival held in December, which, it seems likely, was thought 
to promote the growth of the autumn sowing. Dicaeopolis’ daughter 
carries a basket containing offerings to the god (a cake with gravy ladled 
on it), slaves follow carrying phalloi on poles and Dicaeopolis brings up 
the rear chanting a ribald hymn to Phales, companion of Dionysus (it 
contains what look like crude insults aimed at individuals). All these 
features recur in the magnificent preliminaries to the dramatic perfor- 
mances at the City or Great Dionysia, which were held in March— April. 
The basket carrier ( kanepboros ) was of noble birth and her basket was of 
gold, the sacrifices included a bull and other offerings besides, phalloi 
were carried and, though we have little direct testimony to their 
appearance, the revellers of the procession almost certainly indulged in 
the satiric songs characteristic of Athenian processions. This procession, 
pompe , was the prelude to a four-day religious holiday (shortened to three 
days during the Peloponnesian War). The statue of the god was brought 
in and seated to watch the dramatic performances; the theatre was 
purified by the sacrifice of a pig and libations poured by the generals; 
public business (except in emergencies) was suspended and prisoners 
released on bail for the duration of the festival. 

Drama emerged from a context of ritual celebration and remained 

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even in its developed form an act of worship, honouring the god in his 
precinct. The origins of modern European drama offer a striking 
parallel: the key role played by the dramatic presentation of the Easter 
service, the trope known as Quern quaeritis — the words the angel 
addresses to three Maries at the tomb. But the surface aspects of the 
parallel draw attention in fact to the total dissimilarity of the two cases. 
The Christian play was based on a sacred book, interpreted with 
incontestable authority by an organized supranational priesthood, a 
powerful hierarchy exerting immense spiritual influence and backed by 
impressive economic resources. In Greece no such priestly organization 
existed (priests were for the most part technicians of ritual sacrifice 
presiding over local and family cult); there was no holy book, no fixed 
sacred history, no ethical code based on divine revelation. For their 
vision of their gods and the relation of those gods to human life and 
morality the fifth-century Athenians still relied on the poets, Homer and 
Hesiod in particular. All through the Archaic period the problem of the 
connexion between these Olympian deities and human ideals of justice 
and morality was a theme for the poets. Heraclitus and Xenophanes 
criticized Homer and Hesiod in harsh terms but Theognis appealed for 
understanding — ‘Dear Zeus, I wonder at you . . . how can your mind 
bear to treat the wicked and the good man alike?’ (375-8); Solon tried to 
justify the ways of Zeus to man by the slowness of justice which may fall 
on the sinner’s descendants. Theology, in fact, was in Greece the 
business of the poets before it became the concern of the sophists and 
fourth-century philosophers, and Attic tragedy which dramatized, in a 
religious context, the central myths of the Greek past, stories of heroic 
action locked in a pattern of divine prophecy and intervention, assumed 
the same prerogative and burden. The relation between ‘religion’ and 
‘literature’ was a phenomenon unique in the history of the West. 

The performances staged at the two festivals were a celebration of the 
god; the celebrant was the city of Athens, the polis itself. The organiza- 
tion and financing of the dramatic festivals was the responsibility of the 
city’s annually elected magistrates and the Dionysia was a demonstration 
to the Greek world of Athenian imperial power and of that cultural 
supremacy which made Athens, in Pericles’ proud phrase, ‘the education 
of Greece’. Unlike the Lenaea, celebrated in December, when stormy 
weather on the Aegean restricted the audience to native Athenians, the 
Dionysia, which marked the opening of the sailing season, attracted 
visitors, private and official, from all over the Greek world. Once 
arrived, they saw the tribute from the cities of the Delian League 
displayed in the theatre, watched the orphaned sons of Athenian battle 
casualties, now fully grown and equipped with arms by the state, 
paraded in the theatre to receive the blessings of the people, and heard 

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Fig. 36. Satyr player from an Attic red-figure cup by 
Makron, about 490 b.c. (Munich, Antikensammlungen 
2657; ARV 7 475, 267; cf. Boardman 1975 (1 17) fig. 3 14.) 

the proclamation of decrees honouring foreigners and citizens who had 
distinguished themselves by service to the Athenian state. 

After these preliminaries the huge audience (the theatre could proba- 
bly hold some 14,000 people) sat through the performance of twenty 
dithyrambs, three sets of three tragedies, each followed by a satyr play, 
and five comedies (the number was cut to three during the Peloponne- 
sian War). The dithyrambs were lyric poems sung and danced by a 
chorus of fifty which danced in a circle; ten choruses of boys and ten of 
men (representing the ten Athenian tribes) competed for prizes. We have 
very little idea of the nature of these dithyrambic poems. Their lyric style 
was proverbially exalted and ornate and we have reason to believe that 
by mid-century the music became more important than the words. This 
event, however, was the one most calculated to rouse the partisan 
emotions of the audience, for the ten different choruses of boys, like 
those of men, represented the ten Athenian tribes in competition for a 
prize. The three tragic poets had a day each for the presentation of three 
tragedies; they were followed by a satyr play. This, as its name indicates, 
had a chorus of satyrs, the grotesquely phallic companions of Dionysus 
in myth and art (Fig. 36); it presented the mythic material in tones 
ranging from light-hearted to burlesque. The comic poets offered one 
play apiece; during the war when there were only three comedies instead 
of five, they came last in the day, after the satyr play. 

The planning for the festival had begun long before. One of the first 
tasks of the incoming eponymous archon was to assign cboregoi for the 
tragic and comic contests — one for each competing poet; the cboregoi for 

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the dithyrambs seem to have been elected by the members of the tribes. 
The choregos was a wealthy citizen who assumed responsibility for the 
training of the chorus, its costumes and salaries, as well as the salaries of 
trainers and musicians. This form of imposed public service (the Greek 
name for it has become our word ‘liturgy’) was standard practice in 
democratic Athens; the same procedure was used to provide for other 
state and tribal ceremonies and, in an emergency, to finance the 
equipment, maintenance and repair of warships. A citizen might appeal 
against his selection for such expensive honours, name someone weal- 
thier who could better afford it, and even offer to exchange property with 
him if he challenged that estimate. But such attempts at evasion were 
uncommon; the choregia was regarded as a privilege as well as a duty, as is 
clear from the fact that though resident aliens could serve as choregoi for 
the Lenaea, only citizens were called on for the Greater Dionysia. The 
post conferred conspicuous public honours. The choregos of the tribe 
victorious in the dithyrambic contest received, as the representative of 
his tribe, a tripod, for which he built a monumental base, inscribed with 
his name, that of the tribe, the flute-player, the poet and the archon; there 
was a whole street of such monuments and one, that of Lysicrates (334 
b.c.), is still standing in Athens. The choregos had a place of honour in the 
splendid procession with which the festival began; Alcibiades used to 
wear a purple robe for it (Ath. xii. 5 34c) and Demosthenes had prepared 
a gold crown and a gold-embroidered cloak for the occasion. Further- 
more, fulfilment of this liturgy could be cited in the courts as testimony 
to the speaker’s democratic loyalty and public spirit (cf. Lys. xxi.1-5, 
xix. 29). 

The actors were paid by the city and assigned by the archon, who also 
selected the poets for the occasion. We have no account of how this was 
done; presumably aspirants read their scripts to him. The prizes at the 
contest itself, for the poets and later for the actors, were assigned by 
judges who had been selected through an elaborate system of sortition 
designed to eliminate personal influence (though they were certainly 
subject to another form of influence, the audience reaction to the 
performance). In this respect, as in every detail of its organization, the 
theatre of Dionysus reflected, like the law courts and the Assembly, the 
egalitarian spirit of democratic Athens. 


Plays produced in such a thoroughly civic context could be expected, 
their mythical content notwithstanding, to reflect social and political 
concerns and this is indeed the case, though in tragedy specific 
contemporary allusions were avoided. In six of the extant plays of 

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2 73 

Aeschylus, for example, the outcome of the tragic action determines the 
fate not just of individuals but of a city (or, in the case of the Persians , an 
empire). But this political element, far from clashing with the solemn 
religious note and deep moral concern characteristic of Greek tragedy, 
combines with it and is in fact often inseparable from it, just as, in the real 
life of the cities, it was sometimes difficult, if not impossible, to 
distinguish clearly the political from the religious. The oracle at Delphi, 
for example, was the voice of Apollo, who expressed the will of his father 
Zeus, but it was at the same time a powerful arbiter in relations between 
the Greek states on matters involving both peace and war. At Athens the 
new temple on the Acropolis, the Parthenon, was a shrine of the city’s 
patron goddess Athena; in its inmost recesses were stored the Athenian 
war reserves, the tribute from the allies. And in the mythical tales which 
the poets shaped to form a dramatic vision of the Greek past, the gods 
were manifest in the patterns of the action even when they were not 
actually represented on the stage. 

The earliest tragedy we have, Aeschylus’ Persians (produced in 472), is 
an anomaly: it is set, unlike the plays which accompanied it, not in 
mythical time but in contemporary reality. It deals with events which 
everyone in the audience had lived through and presents to a people 
seated among the burned-out ruins of their city an idealized vision of the 
war which shows no trace of hatred or contempt for the defeated 
invader, gives no hint of the disunity of the Greeks and the fact that 
many of them had fought on the Persian side. It mentions no Greek 
leaders by name and makes no allusion to their partisan quarrels, past and 
present. What it does is to create a dramatic world resonant with the 
poetic and religious values inherent in the great myths which were the 
normal basis of tragedy. Though the Greeks, and Athens in particular, 
are given full credit for their endurance and courage, the glory for the 
great sea battle is ascribed to heaven - ‘some power divine’, says the 
Persian messenger, ‘has destroyed our host, weighing down the scale 
with unequal fortune’ (345-6). 

The divine motive is not so much partiality for the Greeks as anger 
against Xerxes, who has overstepped the limits of human power by 
building a bridge across Hellespont; his destruction of the temples and 
the divine images in Greece is one more proof of his impious folly. This 
simple scheme of transgression and punishment is however darkened by 
a theological complication which will recur in sinister emphasis 
throughout Aeschylean drama: Xerxes is as much a victim as sinner, for 
he has been tempted to ruin. ‘What mortal man’, sings the chorus early in 
the play, ‘shall escape the cunning deceit of a god? . . . For, fawning 
kindly on him at first, Delusion leads a mortal astray into the nets . . .’ 

(9 4 ff). 

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In Seven Against Thebes (467) the fate of a city hangs in the balance as 
the decisive assault is launched against its walls. The city is saved, but its 
defender Eteocles dies killing his brother; heroic defender of the city 
though he may be, he is also the heir to a father’s curse and a tainted 
heredity reaching back over generations. The nature of his motivation 
when, at the climax of the play’s great central scene, he decides to face his 
brother at the seventh gate, is complex. But one thing seems certain: his 
action is the final manifestation of a curse imposed on Laius as 
punishment for his failure to obey Apollo’s command: ‘Die without 
issue; save the city’ (Sept. 747-8). Aeschylus here used the trilogy (the 
two preceding plays, now lost, were called Tains and Oedipus) to show 
the working of the divine will over three generations, its culmination the 
extinction of the male line of Laius. He was to exploit trilogic form for 
similar ends again, but on a grander scale and with a more reassuring 
denouement, in the Oresteia of 458. 

The Suppliants (probably produced between 465 and 459) is the first 
play of a trilogy which traced the story of the daughters of Danaus from 
their acceptance as suppliants at Argos, through the defeat of Argos by 
their Egyptian suitors and the forced marriage which followed, to their 
murder of their husbands on the wedding night. The refusal of marriage, 
an obsessive theme of their lyric odes in the first play, seems to be 
specifically reproved by the goddess Aphrodite in a fragment of the last 
play (Mette 1 2 5 ), a speech which celebrates the universal power of Eros. 
The political element is not absent, since the king of Argos has to face the 
danger involved in sheltering suppliants whose enemies may attack his 
city — as indeed they do, successfully; the king’s pious action ends in 
disaster for him and his city. How this religious problem is resolved we 
do not know exactly, but the Suppliants is remarkable for its solemn lyric 
evocations of the power of Zeus and the impenetrable mystery of his 
will. ‘What the desire of Zeus may be is not easy to track down . . . The 
paths of his mind stretch dark and tangled, impervious to sight’ (Suppl. 

In the Oresteia (458) the themes of the earlier plays are combined with 
new elements to produce the intricate patterns of a dramatic world which 
recognizes no distinction between the theological and the social, the 
mythical and the historical. The curse on the house of Atreus is also the 
operation of a primitive system of justice by vengeance; its guarantors 
are the Erinyes, terrifying spirits of vengeance personified, who, in the 
dilemma posed by Orestes’ murder of Clytemnestra, champion the rights 
of the mother against the husband, of the blood bond which is the tribal 
warrant for private vengeance against the marriage bond which is the 
city’s affirmation of the domination of the male. Against the Erinyes 
stands Apollo, who claims to speak for a Zeus whose inscrutable will, 

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hymned by the chorus of the Agamemnon in some of the greatest lines in 
Greek poetry, manifests itself through human crime and suffering to an 
end which is unforeseen even by Apollo: the reconciliation of the 
Erinyes with the city which, through the court of the Areopagus 
convened by Athena, has decided against them, the reconciliation also, 
as the closing words of the trilogy proclaim, of all-seeing Zeus and 

The trilogy is also a charter myth of the Areopagus and it was 
produced at a time when the democratic leaders Ephialtes and Pericles 
had recently stripped that august body of its political power, confining 
its sphere of action to the judicial. The question of Aeschylus’ stand on 
this controversial reform has been much debated but no agreement has 
been reached and it seems likely that the original audience did not think 
of the play in such terms at all. Aeschylus spurs the audience to think and 
to sympathize; he does not tell them what to think. He shows them the 
roots of their contemporary institutions in the mythical past, emphasizes 
the continuity of their history with the age of gods and heroes and, 
leaving the question of Ephialtes’ reforms open (but in such a way that 
partisans on either side can feel the dignity of their position enhanced), 
he presents his fellow citizens with a vision of advancing Athenian 
progress and power. ‘Time as it flows onward’, says Athena to the 
Erinyes, ‘will bring ever more honour to these citizens’ (853—4). But it is 
honour that has to be won, like the acquittal of Orestes, through that 
struggle and suffering which are the will of Zeus ‘who has set mortal men 
on the road to right thinking, laid down this law to hold good: Learn by 
Suffering’ ( Ag . 176-7). 

Prometheus Bound is so anomalous a play in so many respects that 
doubts of its Aeschylean authorship, first expressed over a hundred years 
ago, are still widespread. There is a fair measure of agreement, however, 
that it is a fifth-century tragedy and it is certainly one which must figure 
in any discussion of religion. Its characters are all gods, Titans or sea 
nymphs with the single exception of Io, a human victim of Zeus, 
changed into a heifer by his jealous wife Hera. The play’s delineation of 
Zeus as a merciless tyrant seems a world away from the reverent 
brooding on the mysteries of his will so characteristic of the other plays. 
Zeus, however, is presented to us always from the standpoint of his 
opponent; and we know that in the lost second play, Prometheus Released, 
a reconciliation takes place between the two great adversaries. And even 
in the first play, as Prometheus prophesies the eventual birth of Heracles, 
his deliverer, from the line of Io, we note that characteristic Aeschylean 
sense of the mystery of the will of Zeus, working through apparent evil 
to good. 

One of the counts against the authenticity of Prometheus Bound is the 

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author’s apparent familiarity with sophistic rhetoric and even sophistic 
teaching, for the long speeches which detail the Titan’s gifts to mankind 
have been thought to reflect the influence of Protagoras’ famous book on 
the development of human civilization. Since Aeschylus died in 456 b.c., 
such influence is, in his case, hardly possible but the younger dramatists, 
Sophocles, whose first production at the Dionysia was in 468 and 
Euripides, whose debut was in 455, were certainly exposed to and 
affected by the questioning, critical attitudes and the new ideas of the 
men, all of them non-citizens, who dominated Athenian intellectual 
circles in the last half of the century. The older poet, Sophocles, shows 
the impact of sophistic thought in a strqng reaction against it: the famous 
first stasimon of Antigone, for example, certainly betrays acquaintance 
with Protagorean teaching and sketches in unforgettable lines man’s 
conquest of his environment; but it concludes with a reminder that he 
cannot conquer death, a warning that his ingenuity may lead to evil as 
well as to good, and a solemn injunction to respect the justice of the 
gods. This tension is a constant in Sophocles’ tragic vision: an admi- 
ration for human greatness is combined with sorrow for its inevitable 
fall. The confident note of the last scene of the Oresteia, the city launched 
on its forward course under divine protection, is never heard again. 

Unlike his predecessor who, born when Hippias was tyrant, saw the 
establishment of democracy and defended it at Marathon and Salamis, 
Sophocles had grown up in the expanding Athens of the Delian League, 
which became an empire. He had seen the fulfilment of Athena’s 
prophecy in the Eumenides, had indeed played his own part in Athens’ 
spectacular advance by serving in high office, civil and military. But in 
the plays we still possess (most of them dating from the last thirty years 
of his long life), the polis, the high point of man’s march to civilization in 
the Antigone stasimon ( Ant . 3 5 5-6), is no longer the place of judgement 
and reconciliation as in the Oresteia. The polis in Sophocles is seen as a 
problem rather than a solution. In Ajax, Philoctetes, Antigone and Oedipus 
at Colonus, for example, the hero bitterly opposes the representatives of 
the polis (or of the stratos, the polis in arms) and in all four cases the 
spokesman for the polis, the Atridae, Odysseus and Creon, are, to say the 
least, unsympathetic characters. And in two of the plays, Ajax and 
Antigone, the grounds for opposition to the community are religious: 
they are the defence of a dead man’s right to burial. 

In the case of Ajax we are left in no doubt that his actions and attitudes 
are hateful to the gods, for the goddess Athena in person makes this 
clear; nevertheless his right to burial is vindicated against the savage 
sentence of the two kings. Antigone is never so explicitly disowned by 
the gods though she considers herself abandoned by them {Ant. 922-3) 
and they allow her to die; yet they assert the rightness of her action 

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through the prophet Tiresias and avenge her, as she prayed they would 
{Ant. 927—8), by the destruction of Creon’s wife and son. Though both 
plays shed an ambiguous light on the character and situation of the hero, 
they strongly suggest that there are some areas of conduct for which the 
polis cannot prescribe, some spheres in which a higher religious law 
prevails. But the will of the gods in Sophocles is never clearly spelled out; 
usually it manifests itself through prophecies, divine pronouncements 
which, neglected or misinterpreted, are understood too late to affect 
action. The will of heaven is a mystery. ‘Since the gods conceal all things 
divine’, runs a fragment of a lost Sophoclean play, ‘you will never 
understand them, not though you go searching to the ends of the earth’ 
(fr. 919 TGrF). 

There are some aspects of the religious element in Sophoclean tragedy 
which seem to stem from sources darker and deeper than the final 
Aeschylean vision of civic order based on divine reconciliation. The 
focus of his tragedy is often not the community but the lonely, stubborn 
protagonist who defies it, recalcitrant to the end, impervious to 
persuasion or threat; in the harsh but magnificent intransigence of 
Antigone, the vindictive wrath of Ajax, the suicidal obstinacy of 
Philoctetes and above all in the terrifying curse old Oedipus pronounces 
on his son we can feel something of the awe and terror inspired by hero- 
cult, the sacrifices made on the hero’s grave (real or supposed) to placate 
and avert his wrath. But hero-cult is not the only archaic belief that finds 
expression in Sophoclean tragedy; there is also a remarkable insistence 
on a primitive taboo which is repudiated by both Aeschylus and 
Euripides, implicitly in the Oresteia and explicitly in the Heracles. This is 
the idea of pollution: the ineradicable and communicable impurity of the 
man who has shed blood. In Aeschylus, Orestes is particularly tainted, 
since the blood is his mother’s; he is instructed by Apollo to purify 
himself by means of sacrifices and at Athens makes the claim to Athena 
that his hands were clean when he sat in supplication at her image. The 
claim is dismissed by the Erinyes but accepted by Athena and the court; 
no further mention of pollution is made. In Euripides’ Heracles, the hero, 
in a fit of madness sent by Hera, has murdered his wife and children; 
Invited to Athens by his friend Theseus he is reluctant to accept because 
of the pollution which makes him an outcast from society. Theseus not 
only urges purification by sacrifice ( HF 1524) he also, in a line which 
‘though stated in pious terms exhibits a new rationalistic spirit’, 1 rejects 
the doctrine that pollution could affect the elements. At the end of the 
play, when Heracles hesitates to take his hand - ‘I am afraid I may smear 
your garments with blood’ (pollution literal as well as symbolic) - 
Theseus replies with a contemptuous dismissal of such fears: ‘Wipe it off, 

1 G. W. Bond, cd. Euripides, Heracles (Oxford 1981) on 11 . 123 2-4. 

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don’t hold back. I don’t care’ ( HF 1400). But Sophoclean tragedy does 
not treat this matter so lightly. When Creon comes out of the palace to 
find the blind Oedipus wandering in the light of day, he reproves his 
servants fiercely for allowing such an unholy object to remain unco- 
vered. Oedipus makes no objection to this estimate of his condition: he 
begs to be expelled from Thebes without delay, to be sent to the 
wilderness where no one will speak to him (OT 1436-7). Many years 
later, at Colonus, when he has come to realize that he bears no moral 
responsibility for the actions that have made his name a byword and at a 
moment when he knows he is now being guided to his resting place by 
the gods who will, in fact, call him by name in the last moments of his life 
( OC 1627—8), he still feels the pollution strong upon him. He asks for the 
hand of Theseus, who has restored his daughters to him. But this is 
followed at once by a shocked renunciation. ‘But what am I saying? How 
could I, a man born for misery, wish to touch one with whom there lives 
no strain of evils?’ Theseus makes no demur to this; the contrast with the 
Euripidean scene, produced some years before, may be deliberate. 
Oedipus goes still polluted in the eyes of men to his hero’s grave. In this, 
as in so many other aspects of his drama, we can find justification for 
Dodds’ perceptive estimate, that Sophocles was ‘the last great exponent 
of the archaic world view’. 2 

To air on the stage such a radical rejection of belief in pollution as the 
words Euripides gave his Theseus was a bold gesture, for such belief was 
widespread and deep rooted; it is reflected in Athenian judicial pro- 
cedure and legal oratory. But this was not the only aspect of popular 
religion which was exposed to criticism in Euripidean drama; even more 
radical and frequent is the attack on prophecy, which in Sophocles is 
always vindicated, and on human prophets, who in Sophocles are always 
presented in an aura of respect, even reverence. Euripidean characters 
are apt to dismiss human soothsayers with scornful contempt (e.g. He l. 
744—57, I A 956-68), but even divine prophecy does not escape 
unscathed. In the Ion, Apollo, the prophetic spokesman of Zeus, is 
apparently unable to foresee the failure of his plan to palm his son by 
Creusa off on Xuthus, revealing the truth to Creusa only when Ion 
reaches Athens ( Ion 71—2); furthermore, the god’s oracle tells Xuthus a 
plain lie. 

A sceptical attitude towards prophecy, however, was by no means rare 
in the last half and especially in the last years of the fifth century. 
Thucydides remarks acidly of the many prophecies made about the 
length of the war that only one was correct. And Aristophanes in Birds 
(959—91) and Knights (996-1095) makes outrageous fun of professional 
prophets and their wares. The Euripidean presentation of Apollo in Ion, 

2 Dodds 1951 (j 26)49. 

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however, is a different matter; whether it is to be taken as a serious 
indictment of Apolline prophecy or a light-hearted handling of the god’s 
peccadilloes appropriate for a play which in many respects foreshadows 
Menandrian comedy, it goes far beyond the norms of popular scepti- 
cism. But this does not mean that Euripides was an atheist, still less that 
his tragedies denied the existence of the gods, as Aristophanes claimed in 
jest ( Tbesm . 450—1), and some modern critics have claimed in all 
seriousness. A dramatist who wants to demonstrate the non-existence of 
gods does not create such impressive stage presences as the Aphrodite of 
Hippolytus , the Poseidon and Athena of Troades, the Lyssa and Iris of 
Heracles , and above all, the Dionysus of Baccbae. 

Bacchae is not only a Dionysiac Passion Play — a powerful enactment of 
the religion’s central mystery, the tearing apart of the god-substitute - it 
is also an exploration of the varieties of experience offered by the god and 
the wide range of reactions to his cult. It exposed the audience to the 
time-serving pliancy of old Cadmus, the hollow professionalism of 
Tiresias, the revulsion charged with prurient curiosity of Pentheus, the 
god’s smiling passivity and merciless revenge, Agave’s deluded exalta- 
tion and her cruel awakening to reality, the paradisial innocence of the 
Maenads in the pine-woods and their ferocity when disturbed and, above 
all, the revelation, in the magnificent poetry of the choral odes, of the 
Dionysiac ecstasy, the abandon of the barefoot night-long dances 
(86zff), the savage ‘joy of the living flesh devoured’ ( omopbagon cbarin 138, 
tr. E. R. Dodds). This fascination with religious phenomena is character- 
istic of Euripides; it surfaces elsewhere in the exquisite prayer to Artemis 
of Hippolytus, whose total abstinence from sexual intercourse is a 
singular rarity in the pre-Christian world, and in the innocent trust in 
Apollo of Ion the Delphic temple servant and the charming naivety of 
his morning song as he cleans the approaches to the shrine. Gods are 
ubiquitous on the Euripidean stage; five of the extant plays (and one of 
the lost) have their prologues delivered by gods (in Alcestis and Troades 
two gods appear), and in nine of the extant and two of the fragmentary 
plays a god appears in majesty at the end to settle accounts, offer 
explanations and predict the future. 

These last-minute epiphanies have been severely criticized ever since 
Plato made the sarcastic comment that the tragic poets, when they are at 
their wits’ end, fall back on the machine and bring in the gods on high 
( Crat . 423d). It may be that at the time Plato was writing, such divine 
appearances had become a tiresome routine, but it is remarkable that 
Aristophanes, who does not miss many Euripidean targets, makes no 
similar complaint in the Frogs. In Euripides, in fact, the dens ex macbina is 
much more than a convenient device for rescuing the protagonists from 
impossible situations and the dramatist from contradictions. Unlike 

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Sophocles, whose play endings are often enigmatic ( Electra is not alone 
in this), Euripides seems to have felt the need to compensate for the 
abandonment of trilogic form by reinserting his dramatic excerpt in the 
mainstream of myth. This could only be done by a character who 
foretells the future and so the prophet is usually a god. But these gods do 
more than explain and prophesy; they also give directions for the burial 
of the dead (. Andromache , Electra, Antiope, Erechtheus) and establish 
religious rites: the cult of Hippolytus at Troezen ( Hipp . 1423ft), of 
Artemis Tauropolos (IT 145 off) and the Hyakinthides (Erechtheus fr. 65, 
74ff, Austin) in Attica. 

The gods are a solid reality in Euripidean drama: Euripides’ place of 
honour among the atheists in the ancient doxographic tradition must be 
due to reliance on passages quoted out of context. For the role these gods 
play in the government of the universe and human life is discussed by 
Euripidean characters with a freedom and sophistication which owes 
much to the philosophical speculation of the age. Hecuba’s address to 
Zeus in Troades is a celebrated example: ‘O you’, she says ‘that are the 
earth’s support and also have your seat upon the earth, whoever you may 
be, for knowledge is beyond our conjecture, Zeus, whether you are 
nature’s law of necessity or the mind of man . . .’ (Tro. 884-6). Sometimes 
the characters reprove the gods for their cruelty or neglect; similar 
sentiments are to be found in the other dramatists too but in Euripides 
they are expressed with a particularly uncompromising vehemence. 
‘Great god though you are’, says Amphitryon when he sees no hope for 
the wife and children of Heracles, son of Zeus, T, a mortal, surpass you in 
manly virtue ... You must be a stupid god or unjust right through’ (HF 
342, 347). In other plays the gods are called on to show themselves 
morally superior to men, in particular, to show mercy. So Cadmus 
appeals to Dionysus, ‘Gods should not be like mortals in their passion’ 
(Ba. 1348), and Hippolytus’ old servant to Aphrodite, ‘gods should be 
wiser than mortals’ (Hipp. 1 20). Needless to say, both appeals fall on deaf 
ears and though the children of Heracles are saved from the tyrant Lycus, 
they are reserved for something worse - to be killed by their own father. 

Euripides’ gods are utterly indifferent to human ideals of morality and 
justice. Sophocles’ Athena in Ajax exacts a terrible payment from the 
hero for his neglect but she bases her conduct on an ethical claim — that 
the gods love those who are wise in heart ( sophronas ) and detest evildoers 
(Aj. 1 3 2—3), and the intervention of Heracles in Philoctetes is beneficent, 
for Philoctetes will win not only health but glory; furthermore Heracles 
speaks not only of himself as a model for the hero in his pursuit of 
excellence (Phil. 1418—22), but of mankind’s duty to show reverence for 
things divine (1441-3). In Antigone the gods, through their prophet 
Tiresias, show their approval of her action, and even Oedipus, whose 

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destiny in Oedipus Tyrannus seems to raise unanswered questions about 
divine justice, is welcomed by the gods in the last play ( OC 1627-8). But 
in Euripides the gods demand only one thing of mortals: submission. 
Aphrodite cites no justification for her destruction of Hippolytus and 
Phaedra other than his neglect of her rites; Dionysus has no mercy on 
Cadmus, who tried, at the last moment, to join in his worship. And 
Athena in Troades turns against the Achaeans whom she has so far 
favoured; for one man’s crime against her left unpunished she joins 
Poseidon to destroy the whole Achaean fleet. This play in fact presents 
the ironic spectacle of a series of Achaean atrocities which would be 
enough, in human eyes, to justify the destruction at sea which awaits 
them; the prologue shows, however, that their punishment has nothing 
to do with the sacrifice of Polyxena or the appalling murder of the child 
Astyanax; the Achaeans will be paying with their lives simply because a 
goddess considers herself insulted. It may be that some subtle theologi- 
cal point is being made here — the apparently random coincidence of 
divine action with human expectations of justice - but no such 
explanation offers itself for the inflicting of homicidal madness on 
Heracles after the completion of his labours for mankind, or for the 
destruction of Hippolytus and Phaedra. Their deaths in fact are 
explained as incidental products of an eternal struggle between Aphro- 
dite and Artemis ( Hipp . 1327-34), which will produce yet another 
human victim when Artemis, in her turn, destroys a favourite of 
Aphrodite (Hipp. 1420-2). These gods are like those of the Iliad, who 
bargain for the fate of men and cities in their private quarrels (II. iv.30— 
63); Euripides rejects all that his predecessors since Homer had done to 
reconcile the Olympian gods and human ideas of right and wrong. The 
gods exist, his tragedies seem to say, but they are the amoral, elemental 
forces which, locked in eternal conflict both outside and inside us, rule 
the tragic universe in which we live. 

There is another fifth-century poet who appears on the list of ‘atheists’ 
— Critias, the uncle of Plato, the leading spirit of the Thirty Tyrants. 
From a play called Sisyphus our ancient authority (Sextus Empiricus) 
quotes forty-two lines of a speech which clearly reflect radical rationalist 
thought. It is cast in the form of a sophistic Kulturgeschichte, starting with 
the original state of lawless chaos and proceeding to the invention of 
laws and punishments. When, however, the laws were evaded by 
criminals who acted in secret, some clever man invented fear of the gods, 
so that evildoers would have something to fear even if not found out. He 
introduced the idea of an immortal spirit who hears and sees everything, 
who even knows human intentions. So he ‘concealed the truth with a 
false tale, locating the gods where they would cause most fear, in the sky, 
the source of thunder and lightning. So, I imagine, someone first 

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persuaded men to think that there was a race of gods’ (Snell, T. 19 


The attribution of this fragment to Critias is disputed; it may belong to 
a satyr play called Sisyphus which we know was a Euripidean title. 3 But 
whoever wrote it, the assumption that it reflects the sentiments of the 
poet is of course unjustified. There is a similar speech in the Euripidean 
satyr play Cyclops ; the speaker expresses utter contempt for the gods, 
Zeus in particular. If this speech were a fragment without context, such 
remarks as ‘To eat and drink your fill from day to day — that’s what Zeus 
is, to men who can use their heads’ ( Cycl . 337-8) would certainly have 
earned Euripides a place in the ancient (and some of the modern) 
handbooks as a forerunner of the Cyrenaics and Epicurus. But in the play 
the Cyclops is blinded by Odysseus, and Sisyphus, the arch-trickster and 
liar of Greek myth, whose punishment in Hades was proverbial, is not 
likely to have escaped unscathed in a play produced in the theatre of 

Cyclops , like Sisyphus (whoever its author may have been) was a satyr 
play, a burlesque appendage to the tragic poet’s offspring of three serious 
plays. Cyclops is our only complete specimen but the papyri have given us 
large sections of Sophocles’ Ichneutae ( The Trackers) and smaller frag- 
ments of the satyr plays for which Aeschylus was famous in antiquity. 
From this material there emerges a picture of an extraordinary dramatic 
form: the enactment of a mythical action by characters whose would-be 
tragic dignity is undercut by the antics of a chorus of ithyphallic satyrs, 
creatures compounded of insatiable greed, carnal lust and abject cowar- 
dice. This might seem, at first sight, to be a relic of some original 
Dionysiac ritual, piously preserved, but in fact there is good evidence 
that it was introduced into the festival around the beginning of the fifth 
century by Pratinas, who, Pausanias (11.15.6) tells us, was Aeschylus’ 
only rival in this remarkable genre. Whatever its origin, it became the 
exclusive domain of the tragic poets and though the performance of a 
satyr play after the three tragedies must have provided a psychological 
transition to the comedy which followed, comedy and satyr play belong 
to different spheres. 


In satyr plays the dancers of the chorus wore not only horse tails and a 
mask which combined a snub nose with baldness and a beard but also 
tights made of animal-skin equipped with a prosthetic phallus (Fig. 37). 
In comedy the phallus, ‘made of leather, hanging down, tipped with red, 
thick, a laugh for the children’, as Aristophanes describes it ( Clouds 3 5 8— 

3 Cf. Dihle 1977 (j 2 5) 28—42. 

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Fig. 37. Clay figure of a comic actor. (Ber- 
lin, StaatlicheMuscen 8823; after M. Bieber, 

Die Denkmaler %ur Theatcrwesen im Alter turn 
(1920) pi. 69; Bieber 1961 (1 15) fig. 133.) 

9), was usually (though not always) attached to the costume of the actors 
as well. In satyr plays the poet played off the tragic pretensions of the 
mythic world of the actors against the gross animality of the chorus; in 
comedy there is no such contrast, it is a world of here and now. The 
creatures of the comic poet move through the landscape not of the 
mythical past but of fifth-century Athens — the Pnyx, the ecclesia , the 
Agora, the Acropolis, with occasional excursions to Hades and Cloud- 
cuckoo-land. But though the Athenian setting is familiar, what happens 
in it on stage soon leaves reality far behind: an Athenian landowner 
makes a separate peace with Sparta, another flies on a giant dung-beetle 
up to Olympus to complain to Zeus about the war; the women of Athens 
and Sparta force their men to make peace by declaring a sex-strike; two 
Athenian adventurers organize the birds to cut the gods off from the 
smoke of sacrifice and so force Zeus to surrender his sovereignty. In the 
course of these extravaganzas many Athenians seated in the audience 
were outrageously slandered and lampooned: prominent statesmen and 
literary figures appeared travestied on stage and subjected to scurrilous 
abuse. Even the gods did not escape the comic poet’s unwelcome 
attentions; the trio of gods who come to negotiate in Birds include a 
gluttonous Heracles and a barbarian Triballian god, both of them a great 
embarrassment to the chief of mission Poseidon. And Dionysus in Frogs 
is presented in his own theatre as a coward and buffoon. Furthermore, in 
keeping with the phallus on the actor’s costume, the proceedings were 

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enlivened throughout by explicit sexual and excretory jokes. 

About the origins of this remarkable performance we know no more 
than we do about the origin of tragedy; in both cases what little 
information we have is contradictory. Why tragedy was called goat-song 
( trag-oidia ) no one has ever explained satisfactorily, but komos song makes 
a kind of sense, for komos is the Greek word for a revel, a riotous 
celebration. There were many such occasions in the Greek festival 
calendar at which personal lampoons and parody would be the natural 
media of spontaneous entertainment, but we do not know of any specific 
occasion which could have given rise to the dramatic structure which 
meets us in Aristophanes; a core consisting of an agon , a contest between 
two adversaries, and a parabasis , a choral address to the audience, 
embedded in a series of lively scenes enclosed by a prologue and a danced 

Comedy was first included in the programme of the Dionysia in 486 
b.c. (before that, according to Aristotle, there had been productions by 
‘volunteers’ ( ethelontai-. Poet. 1449 b 1_2 )l it was not introduced at the 
Lenaea until much later (in or about 442). The only complete plays which 
have come down to us are all the work of one man, Aristophanes, and 
they were all produced between 424 ( Acharnians ) and 388 ( Plutus ); of the 
comedies of his predecessors and competitors we have only fragments. 
Coming so late in the history of the genre Aristophanes’ work may have 
been atypical: his plays reflect a literary sophistication which, one 
suspects, was not characteristic of his rivals; his masterly parodies of 
Euripides, for example, speak of an intimate knowledge of his target that 
may have provoked one of his competitors to coin the remarkable verb- 
form euripidaristophani^on, suggesting that he was as much fascinated as 
repelled by the phenomenon he attacked. Sophisticated and literary he 
might be, but he was competing in a field where what counted was the 
laughter of the audience. Though he complains about the third prize 
given to Clouds ( Clouds 5 18-25), he managed to combine the low notes 
with the high successfully enough to win first prize with Acharnians 
(425), Knights (424) and Frogs (405); and a second prize with Wasps (422), 
Peace (421) and Birds (412). 

The tragic poets found religious and ethical problems immanent in the 
myths with which they worked; they embodied these universal themes in 
dramatic patterns which expressed contemporary concern. But though 
tragedy could also address social and political issues in general terms, it 
avoided specific issues currently under debate and above all specific 
personal allusions. Comedy had less to say about theology and theodicy 
but it took for its raw material the events of the day and the personalities 
of the hour. The Acharnians, produced in a city which had suffered and 
was still enduring shortages and inconvenience caused by the annual 

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Spartan invasions, celebrates a hero who makes a separate peace and 
enjoys on stage all the delicacies and comforts that the audience can only 
dream of; he exonerates the Spartans of responsibility for the war, 
asserting, in an outrageous travesty of Athenian war aims, that Pericles 
declared war because the Megarians stole two whores belonging to his 
mistress Aspasia; he finally exits in drunken high spirits, clutching two 
accommodating ladies of the night, while Lamachus, the general, comes 
back from a battle with a twisted ankle and a broken head (he had fallen 
in a ditch), to lament his lot in Euripidean lyric cliches as he is carted off 
to the doctor. Knights, produced in the following year, is a full-scale 
attack on Cleon, the political leader, who, like Pericles before him, 
maintained such a hold over the popular Assembly that he was in effect in 
control of Athenian policy. In the play he is a Paphlagonian slave in the 
house of a foolish old man called Demos, but the slave is in fact the 
master, since Demos is the dupe of the Paphlagonian’s flattery and is kept 
stupidly content with handouts. Two other slaves, whose ‘Spartan cake 
made at Pylos’ the Paphlagonian had taken credit for, learn from an 
oracle that the leather-seller (Cleon) is to be succeeded by a ‘blood- 
sausage seller’ - a figure which of course appears at once ‘as if sent by a 
god’ ( Knights 147). Reluctant at first to enter politics because of his lack of 
education, but persuaded that even the little he has is a disadvantage, he 
takes on Cleon and proves victorious in the agon of vulgar abuse, wild 
accusation and disgusting flattery which follows (at one point they both 
vie for the privilege of having Demos wipe his fingers on their heads 
after he has blown his nose ( Knights 910— 1 1)). 

Like Acharnians, Knights is a massive comic offensive against the 
current Athenian leadership and its policies. And yet both plays won first 
prize. And neither play seems to have undermined popular support for 
the war or for Cleon, its chief promoter, who was elected one of the ten 
generals not long after the performance of Knights. Nor is there reliable 
evidence for attempts at retaliation by the powerful figures who were 
targets of the comic poets. 4 To be singled out for abuse in comedy was 
evidently something to be expected if you were noteworthy in any way; 
it was not to be taken to heart. Comedy was the licensed clown of 
Athenian democracy; in its proper place and time its civic and religious 
duty was to release its audience from restraints and inhibitions like the 
god in whose precinct it was performed. For an hour or two at the end of 
the day comedy had licence to turn the world upside-down. Its plots defy 

4 Aristophanes claims (or rather his character Dicaeopolis docs) that he was dragged before the 
bonk and abused because of his comedy Babjlonians ( Acb . 577-82), but we have only his word for it; 
and that has to be weighed against the fact that later in the same play, speaking in his own person 
through the chorus, he announces that the Great King believes that Athens will win the war because 
they have Aristophanes to advise them and that the Spartan claim to Aegina is simply a manoeuvre 
to gain possession of that valuable asset — Aristophanes. 

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reality: Dicaeopolis’ separate peace, the sausage-seller’s conquest of 
power, Trygaeus’ ascent to heaven to end the war, Pisetaerus’ defeat of 
the Olympians and, above all, the revolt of the women led by Lysistrata, 
are all events so utterly impossible that their presentation on stage 
constitutes no threat whatsoever to established institutions. 

It was, however, possible for the comic poet to make a momentary exit 
from his fantasy world and speak on social themes in a serious tone. In 
the parabasis , a long and elaborate lyric unit in which the chorus 
addresses the audience directly, the poet sometimes has his chorus 
discuss matters which lie outside the bounds of the comic plot. In one 
section of this structure, the epirrhema, a harangue in trochaic tetrameters 
spoken in character (young aristocrats in Knights, fierce old men in 
Wasps, and so on), the chorus offers advice to the Athenians. Their 
recommendations have usually nothing to do with the themes exploited 
in the play proper; they consist for the most part of unobjectionable 
championship of old-fashioned morals and patriotism. In one play, 
however. Frogs of 405, the chorus of mystic initiates calls on the 
Athenians to restore their civic rights to those who had been penalized 
for their participation (or suspected participation) in the oligarchic coup 
of 41 1. We have it on the authority of Dicaearchus, a pupil of Aristotle, 
that this advice was so welcome to the Athenians that they took the 
unprecedented step of giving the comedy a second performance. But this 
example is the exception that proves the rule: the proper function of 
comedy was not to advise but to be outrageous. It is the safety-valve of 
the emotional pressures generated by life in the polis and, like the reign 
of the Lord of Misrule in medieval England or the freedom granted to 
slaves at the Roman Saturnalia, it offers a utopian vision of revolution 
which serves to reinforce the solidity of the existing order. 

Comedy’s treatment of the gods is no more radical in intention than its 
abuse of individuals. It is not to be wondered at that gods suffered at its 
hands the same indignities as men, for the gods, outside philosophical 
circles, were regarded, sometimes with fear and sometimes with affec- 
tion, as human beings on a more majestic scale; their passions - love, 
hate, pride and anger - were no different from ours, only more 
dangerous. From fear and reverence for the gods, even for Dionysus 
himself, comedy brought the worshipper a momentary dispensation. 
But the medium of release - the actors with their grotesque masks and 
phallic appendages, the dancers with their deliberately vulgar choreo- 
graphy — was itself a ceremony of worship of the god. ‘The man is 
dancing’, runs a fragment of the comic poet Phrynichus (K9), ‘and all’s 
well with the god.’ 

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The only statement which can be made with security about Athenian 
society and economy in the Periclean period is that they were evolving 
rapidly but unsystematically. Since very much the same can be said of our 
scholarly understanding of those processes, the reader should be warned 
that this section must needs be more provisional than most, and is likely 
to date rapidly even so. 

It may be helpful to explain why. Earlier generations of scholarship on 
the subject were (in broad terms) split between two approaches. Some 
adopted an antiquarian approach, organized according to the sector of 
economic activity or to the legal status and socio-economic functions of 
population groups. 1 This approach served essentially as a backdrop to 
the political, military, artistic and intellectual history of Athens and the 
rest of Greece. Others, more interpretatively inclined, became enmeshed 
in the unending debate between those who saw the Greek (including the 
Athenian) economy as essentially agrarian and undeveloped, based upon 
the largely autarkic farm plus family ( oikos ), and those who consciously 
or subconsciously saw the city states in Hanseatic terms, with a 
corresponding emphasis on capital, innovation, and market-oriented 
production and competition. 2 The post-war debate, having belatedly 
absorbed Hasebroek’s fundamental attack of 1928 (a 60) on the latter 
view, came to be dominated by the late Sir Moses Finley. For present 
purposes the salient features of his approach were three. The first was 
methodological, comprising the claim that economic or social institu- 
tions and practices cannot be seen in isolation but must be interpreted as 
integral parts of the general fabric of a society and its value-systems. 
Thus seen, even innovations like banks, or loans on the security of an 
identified portion of a property-holding ( apotimemata ), were not what 
they prima facie seem to be, inventions to help capital accumulation or 
economic growth, but social instruments developed to help meet costly 
obligations such as liturgies, dowries, or interest-free loans ( eranoi ) to 

1 E.g. Tod 1927 (l 154); Michcll 1940 and 1957 (l ioi); Ehrenberg 1951 (l 34); an approach 
deriving ultimately from Boeckh 1840 (l 8). 

2 Surveys ofthe debate in Oerte! 1925 (l io5);Gernet 1933 (l j 8); Will 1954 (l 144); Pearson 1957 
(l 1 *4); Humphreys 1970(1. 71); Musti 1981 (l 103) 3/f. Recent exponents of each view are Starr 1977 
(a i 1 3) and Gschnitzer 1981 (l 65). 


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friends in need . 3 The second feature of Finley’s approach, at once 
methodological and substantive, was the assertion that the analysis of 
such a society needed to be ‘monocolore’, i.e. that there was a single 
system, an ensemble, or a predominant pattern to be detected, and that 
whatever did not fit that pattern was a ‘rare exceptional practice’, ‘on the 
margins ’. 4 Thirdly and substantively Finley claimed that the prevailing 
ideology of Greek — indeed of ancient - society was that of its top social 
echelon. Its economic attitudes were those of a non-innovative agrarian 
society which erected ‘a wall between the land and liquid capital’ and 
made little of entrepreneurship or growth. Its social attitudes likewise 
linked landholding with citizenship, status with descent, and dignity 
with leisure. For Finley, therefore, Aristotle’s Ethics and Politics, or the 
social writings of Xenophon, accurately reflected a cultural-psychologi- 
cal framework within which the town was a centre of consumption, not 
of production, all echoes of the Hanseatic city-state model were to be 
firmly rejected, and the economy was embedded in society . 5 

Such views always had their critics , 6 and reassessment is now 
gathering pace. Ancient agronomic techniques and strategies, ever more 
intensively studied, are being seen as both more complex and more 
rational than hitherto. Settlement and landholding patterns, at last the 
object of serious attention within the Attic landscape, are being seen to 
have generated specific aspects both of the economy and of public 
finances. The conceptual distinctions between economy, society and 
polity, or between polis as central place and polls as polity imposed upon 
landscape, are being used more confidently. Notions that the Athenian 
economy, not to mention the wider Greek economy, was a compound of 
contradictions, whether of structure or of representations, are being 
broached , 7 though their implications have yet to be digested. Fiscal 
demands, or the social imperatives of prestige spending, emerge as 
generating a system of economic and social interaction which was sui 
generis and eludes glibly applied labels. Other approaches from other 
newly adjutant disciplines, ranging from palaeobotany to historical 
demography, are already under way, so that the debate about ancient 
economic and social model-building looks set to continue well into the 
currency of this volume and may yet change its mode of discourse 
radically. What follows here, therefore, is highly provisional. 

Aristotle built his mytho-historical generative model of the polis up 
from the association of man, woman and slave in accordance with nature 

3 Finley 1 952 (l 56) 38—5 2; Finley 1953 (l 37). 

4 References in Davies 1975 (l 28) 101. 

5 Best in Finley 1973 (l 39) and 1977 (a 40). 

f> E.g. Frederiksen 1975 (l 47); Davies 1975 (l 28); Thompson 1982 (l 133). 

7 E.g. Vernant 1965 (a 1 17) (slavery); Humphreys 1970 (l 71) 23 (role of the state). 

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within an oikos (household) (Pol. 1.1252b). It is tempting to follow suit, 
for obvious reasons. The oikos was the context of action and emotion for 
all Athenians and most non-Athenians, for much of their time. It was the 
context of much significant cult-practice, ranging from the everyday 
through rites de passage to such ancestor worship as was practised. 8 It was 
a centre of affective life, though a life clouded by the ideology and reality 
of homosexuality, by disparities in age, education, or expectations 
between husband and wife, and by a severely practical view of marriage 
which saw it mainly as an instrument of child creation and property 
transfer. 9 It was above all the context of most human labour, whether 
‘outside’ in the fields or with the flocks or ‘within’, washing, weaving, 
carding, spinning, cleaning, cooking or nursing: though not self- 
sufficient, the oikos was certainly in this period still the primary unit of 
production, storage and consumption. 

Yet the difficulties of applying Aristotle’s model are extreme. In part it 
is a matter of access. Classical Athens has yielded no private archive like 
the Zenon archive, the Paston letters or the Montaillou records. 10 The 
only substitute, the law-court speeches, do indeed contain much inciden- 
tal information and a few illuminating passages such as Lysias 1 or Lysias 
xxxii. 1 iff, but they are set pieces, written for those who could pay for 
them, and emerge almost by definition from a context where relation- 
ships have broken down, so that they cannot be seen as a direct reflection 
of normality. The same is true for comedy and even more so for tragedy, 
where one can detect preoccupations and ideologies rather than analytic 
portraits of reality. 11 Secondly, it is a matter of the rate of change in our 
understanding, especially in affairs of law and of female/male relation- 
ships within the household. The more the study of the Athenian legal 
system emancipates itself from presuppositions derived from Roman 
law, the more appropriate it becomes to locate court cases within an 
integrative social system, to take seriously the role of juries in forming 
and reflecting social norms, or to see law making as a continual process 
of accommodating norms to social reality. 12 Though this last perception 
is at odds alike with the Athenian assumption that their fundamentally 
static laws remained ‘Solonic’ and with the traditional modern approach 
of presenting Athenian law as a synchronic corpus, yet the need for 
recodification from 411/ 10 onwards (see below, pp. 484-5) suggests 

8 Rose 1957 (k 77); Theophr. Char. xvi. with Humphreys 1979 (l 74) 559. 

9 Dover 1978 (l 32) and Golden 1984 (l 60) on homosexuality; cf. below, n. 13. 

10 One fifth-century letter survives from an Athenian context (Wilhelm 1904(0 178)); a few brief 
messages on potsherds in Agora xxi B1-B9 (with SEG xxvi 67). Household accounts were cast (Ar. 
Clouds 19—20; Plut. Per. 16.5-6); none survives. 

11 Humphreys 1979(1-74) 56 iff= Humphreys 1983 (a 67) i8ff. 

12 Consider the evolution from MacDowcll 1963 (d 5 5), Harrison 1968-71 (a 59) and MacDowell 
1978 (a 81) to Osborne 1985 (l 107), Humphreys 1985 (l 75, l 76) and 1986 (l 77). 

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what isolated evidence confirms, that substantive law was changing 
comparatively fast in this period, yielding precisely the sort of ‘promis- 
cuous heap of legislation’ which Aristotle was later to deplore (Pol. 
1324b 5—6). A comparable change is affecting our ways of describing 
male-female relationships, as it becomes ever clearer how far previous 
study of Athenian society has yielded descriptions based almost entirely 
on male-created documentation and biased accordingly towards the 
actions and attitudes of men. 13 Techniques for redressing the balance, 
created in the last twenty years, are beginning to let us see, for example, 
what the public (male) / private (female) division meant, both generally 
and in the use of space within the house, what (considerable) powers 
went with a dowry, or what roles in production and wealth creation, not 
least managerial, within and outside the house were assumed by 
women. 14 An eventual systematic treatment of the female-male relation- 
ship as a component of Athenian society will probably obliterate much 
current Athenian social history, but its chronological focus will have to 
be the semi-visible century from 430 to 3 20 rather than the near-darkness 
of the Periclean period. 

A third and closely related difficulty arises from the imprecision of 
Athenian terminology. The term oikos denoted at once ‘family’ or 
‘lineage’, ‘household’ and ‘property-unit’, and could shift its meaning 
even within the same legal text (e.g. Dem. xliii. 75). In each area of 
meaning it competed with other terms such as genos (‘lineage’ or ‘issue’), 
ousia (‘beingness’, ‘property’), oikia (‘house’ or ‘building’, but a virtual 
synonym of oikos), or kleros (‘allotted estate’, ‘property-holding inherited 
as a unit’), even apart from other property terms such as chorion or agros , 15 
Behind this linguistic oscillation lay a political ambiguity, in that the 
polity’s fiscal or military or political relationship was not primarily with 
the oikos but with the individual male person, albeit one whose role in the 
polity and obligation towards it (his telos) varied with the size of the oikos 
he commanded. 

The fourth difficulty, closely linked to the third, was the demographic 
instability of oikoi. Athenian law and custom had long since come down 
in favour of partible inheritance and of a prioritized capacity to inherit 
among all members of the bilateral kindred up to a specified degree. Of 

13 The general bibliography on ‘women’s studies’ grows exponentially. Germane to the specific 
context are Wolff 1944 (l 145); Lacey 1968 (l 190); de Ste Croix 1970 (l 121); Thompson 1972 (l 
132); Schaps 1975 (l 1 26); Pomeroy 1976 (a 99); Fisher 1976 (l 43) jff; Schaps 1977 (l i 27); Gould 
1980(1.61); Isager 1981 (l 78); Humphreys 1983 (a 67), esp. chs. 3-4; Just 1985 (l86); Powell 1988 (a 
99 A ) 337-82; Foxhall 1989 (l 45); Just 1990 (l 87). 

14 Respectively Humphreys 1977-8 (d 39) and Walker 1983 (1 175); Foxhall 1989 (l 45) 3 2fF; 
Pomeroy 1990 (c 78 a). 

15 Conspectus in Pritchett 1956 (c 1 56) 261—76; Osborne 1985 (l 106) 15—22; MacDowell 1989 (l 
98). Finley’s promised study of property terminology in Greek authors (l 36, 246 n. 9) never 

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2 9 I 

the two possible ‘strategies of heirship’ 16 reactive to such customs and to 
a likely low life expectancy, one, that of family limitation, increased the 
risk of patriline discontinuity. Solon’s inheritance law, permitting 
adoption in such cases and requiring the archon to ensure that oikoi do 
not become empty, went against the interest of collaterals in consolidat- 
ing property, was often evaded in practice by the adoption of close kin, 
was administered only with difficulty (as the numerous known suits 
contesting adoptions bear witness), and must derive from an interest 
perceived by the central polity, probably for military needs, in retaining 
the maximum number of minimally viable kleroi. The other strategy, that 
of maximizing family size, must have predominated in fifth-century 
Athens if the evidence for population increase can be trusted (below, pp. 
296 fl). In the absence of any significant degree of long-term co- 
ownership of property among kin, 17 it presumably led to repeated 
property division like that of Bouselos’ estate among his five sons in just 
this period (Dem. xliii. i 9). Even if we allow for subsequent intra-family 
inheritance from brother to brother, or from uncle to nephew annulling 
some such divisions, it has to be conceded that, ideal though it may have 
been, the notion of the family oikos/kleros descending intact through the 
generations can rarely have been a reality. At best the well-attested use of 
family given names in alternate generations will have provided a certain 
cognitive and emotional continuity. 18 

A fifth difficulty is that the oikos was very likely in retreat, socially and 
economically, in the Periclean period. Economically an increasing 
amount of production was being carried on outside the oikos framework. 
Admittedly, some contexts, such as the potters’ workshops or black- 
smiths’ forges depicted in some genre red-figure paintings, 19 may have 
been quasi -oikoi, with slaves resident as family members and with no 
spatial differentiation between residence and workplace. However, by 
now some slaves were certainly separated from their owners, ‘living 
apart’ (^copis oiKowres), especially in the newly urbanized areas of 
Athens and Piraeus (below, p. 298) and in effect forming oikoi by 
themselves. Still further removed from tradition were the larger-scale 
ergasteria (workshops) of slave craftsmen and labourers which are well 
attested in the silver-mining area and in Athens and Piraeus. By the time 
we see them, in the speeches of Lysias (xii.8 and 12), they are spatially 
separate from the oikia and could be far larger than any household 
known from Classical Greece. 

Socially, too, the oikos was being ever more weakened by circum- 
stances or circumscribed by political action. Since 510, Cleisthenes’ 

16 Sailares 1991 (l 123) 204-5. 17 Biscardi 1956 (l 6) collects what evidence there is. 

18 Humphreys 1980 (k 42). 

19 Webster 1972 (1 177) 8—9, 248; Osborne 1987 (l 108) 1 14-15 (street of herm-sculptors). 

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restructuring of the polity, the outlawing of tyranny, the unpredictable 
effect of the ostracism law, and the growth in public finances had 
combined to ensure that oikos could not again overshadow polis. Pericles’ 
citizenship law of 45 1 jo, restricting the citizen’s choice of wife to women 
born of citizen-status parents (chapter 4 and p. 299 below), reinforced 
that message, as did the official use of the demotic or tribal affiliation 
rather than patronymic. So too did the laws of the 450s which 
formalized, and thereby specified and restricted, the powers and privi- 
leges of certain aristocratic oikoi in respect of various cults and festivals 
(below, p. 300), as did the laws of various dates from Solon onwards 
which emphasized public funerary rituals while severely curtailing the 
costs and the likely social impact of all private commemoration of the 
dead. 20 Even the physical dispersal of many thousands of citizens abroad 
in the colonies and cleruchies of the 440s (above, pp. 127 ff) will have 
weakened the effective everyday solidarity of many oikoi. 

These facts and movements created a paradox. The oikos carried much 
the same sort of fundamental social load as households and families carry 
in most complex agrarian societies, and was enshrined as such in law and 
ideology. Yet the more specifically segmented and circumscribed it was 
as part of the polity, the more artificial and unstable it became. Either as a 
result, or as the consequence of parallel but independent movements in 
society, social action tended to become the province of larger or more 
fluid units. To these we now turn. 

Central in the spectrum of these larger units was the deme. Settlement in 
nucleated villages had clearly long been the norm in the Attic land- 
scape, 21 though the size of settlement varied enormously according to 
the extent of the territory, the ruggedness, fertility, and ecological 
diversity of the terrain, and differential access to resources and communi- 
cations. Not all of these units were of equal antiquity. Some, such as the 
so-called ‘twelve cities of Cecrops’, were Mycenaean foundations, others 
dated from the internal colonization of Attica in the ninth and eighth 
centuries, while yet others, such as the settlements in the mining area 
which were less dependent on agriculture, were undergoing rapid 
growth in just our period. 

To describe the demes thus is to view them as natural realities, 
emanating from the logic of humans exploiting a landscape. However, 
like oikoi, they had also come to function as the segmental components of 
a polity. The landscape was split up among them; the citizen body 

20 Jacoby 1944 (k 43); Richter 1961 (1 1 30) 57C Kurtz and Boardman 1971 (k 54); Stupperich 1977 
(1 1 61); Humphreys 1980 (k 42). 

21 Osborne 1985 (l 106) and Whitehead 1986 (d 108) have transformed scholarly understanding 
of this level of Athenian society. On settlement patterns cf. also Osborne 1987 (l 108) 63 f; Halstead 
1987 (l 64); Hodkinson 1988 (l 68). 

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comprised precisely those who were listed on the deme registers; and all, 
most importantly, were on the same level constitutionally. Even what 
had by now become the built-up walled area of Athens was composed of 
a number of demes, which were long-established villages in their own 
right and remained demes, each with its own corporate life. In stark 
contrast to some Hellenistic and much medieval experience, there was no 
city corporation as such and no formalized relationship between city and 
country, while the privileged position of the urban centre was reduced to 
a minimum. 22 

These demes were miniature republics, issuing documents, handling 
finances, copying the institutions of the wider polis, enjoying political 
life of probably a highly personal kind (to judge from later speeches such 
as Dem. lvii), and running some cults and festivals such as the rural 
Dionysia. All the same, demes as incorporated segments of the polity 
were only two generations old in 450: indeed, though they had clearly 
taken root by then, yet to judge from the use of demotics the degree to 
which men (especially those of aristocratic pretensions) identified with 
their deme varied and was a socio-political issue in this period. 23 
Furthermore, demes did not manage all local cults or control all matters 
of local importance, for some at least of the latter remained with the 
older-established and more shadowy phratriai (brotherhoods), whose 
role, importance, and relationship to the demes in the Periclean and later 
periods are very hard to assess. The problem is partly to establish how far 
they too reflected any sense of locality. Some phratries do seem to have 
been roughly coterminous, socially and geographically, with demes, 
while the membership of others was already scattered through several 
demes by 5 08/7. Some, again, were — or had been - dominated by a single 
lineage which may have given its usually patronymic name to the larger 
unit, and even well into the fourth century the procedures of admission 
to a phratry continued to coexist with, and to influence, deme decisions 
on admitting members to the deme register. 24 In this respect they went 
on being live organizations, with their own cults, lands and revenues, 
which fulfilled certain limited social functions of ceremonial, of rites de 
passage, and of community membership. Their affairs were worth 
regulating in the mid-fifth century if the law compelling them to admit 
certain categories to membership is rightly so dated, 25 and other 
evidence shows them generating sub-groups ( thiasoi , cult-fraternities) 
within themselves for reasons not at all clear. 

22 Humphreys 1972 (l 72), especially on the contrast with Alexandria. 

23 Whitehead 1986 (d 108) 71. 

24 Wade-Gery 1931 (l 1 38); Jeanmaire 1939(1, 82) 133—44; Latte 1941 (l 92); Andrewes 1961 (d 
1); Lewis 1963 (d 50); Thompson 1968 (l i 3 i); Davies 1981 (d 18) io6f; lto 1981 (l 79); lto 1983 (l 
79A); lto 1988 (l 79B). 

25 Philochorus FGrH 328 f 35, with Andrewes 1961 (d i). 

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2 94 


Apart from demes and phratries, three other subdivisions of the 
citizen body need notice. One group was vestigial: the four ‘Ionic’ tribes 
of which the phratries were (or had been made) segments still survived 
on paper, with tribal officials called phylobasileis (tribal kings) active in 
cult but little else. Almost as unimportant, surprisingly, were the thirty 
trittyes ( CAH iv 2 3 i2ff) which were used for certain military and cultic 
purposes but otherwise seem not to have taken root in society, probably 
because a citizen’s profile of affiliations was complicated enough without 
them. 26 In contrast, the ten Cleisthenic tribes had taken root in 
spectacular fashion. Whereas there is good reason to suppose that they 
were created as entities to bring together men from various areas of 
Attica, to promote the cohesion of a (by Greek standards) exceptionally 
large polity, to avoid recourse to formal or informal perioecic status for 
outlying villages, and to reduce the danger of regional polarizations, by 
the mid-fifth century these functions had been supplemented by others. 
They were at once brigading units for the army; mobilization mecha- 
nisms for the navy; bases for competing teams of runners, singers and 
dancers at various festivals; constituencies for elections to magistracies, 
imprimis the ten generals; constituencies for the selection by lot of 
administrative officials of all kinds, from the grandiose and inter- 
national-sounding hellenotamiai to the most humdrum market super- 
visors; and cult-groups of limited but real significance. 27 In these ways 
both the ‘natural’ units (the demes) and the ‘artificial’ units (the new 
tribes) into which they were grouped had come to function not merely as 
formal segments of the polity but also as communities with identities and 
lives of their own, bearing a genuine functional load. 

Even so, however — such were the intricacies of Athenian society- 
they were inadequate by themselves. Complementary to them (or 
neutralizing them), less segmented, more fluid, and perhaps more 
immediately reflective of social needs, there had developed an untidy 
network of informal groups. For some the focus was a cult, especially of 
gods or aspects of gods who had not (yet) been adopted by the polity, 
exercised though it was in the fifth century to bring as many such cults as 
possible under public supervision and control. For others the focus was a 
network of kinship relationships, visible to us above all when mobi- 
lized for support in legal contexts. 28 For others again the focus was a 
person, whose pbiloi or betairoi (friends, companions) the group 
members were. Mostly aristocratic in ethos, sometimes with a core of 
kinship, these quasi-Masonic groups encapsulated such vestigial patro- 

26 Phylobasileis'. Sokolowski 1962(0 165)110. ioa.3i~46. Trittyes: IG i 3 1117—51, with Traill 1986 
(d 98A) 93-1 13 (military); IG i* 255 and 258.30 (cult). 

27 For specific aspects, Jordan 1975 (d 41) (navy); Davies 1967 (d 17) (festivals); Kron 1976 (k 
53); Rorroff 1978 (k 78) 205 n. 46; Kearns 1985 (k 49) (cults). 

28 Osborne 1985 (l 106) 127—53; Humphreys 1986(1. 77). 

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nage relationships as had survived the advent of large-scale public pay in 
the 460s and 450s. They may sometimes have been purely social, as the 
synousiastai (companions) of Lysias vm are represented as being, while 
others, such as the kakodaimonistai of an early fourth-century Hellfire 
Club (Lys. f 53) may have strayed onto the louche and hybristic 
borderline of cult. Yet others, such as those which surface in the 440s 
round Thucydides son of Melesias (Plut. Per. 1 1.2), in 41 5 (Andoc. 1) or 
in 4 1 1 (Thuc. viii. 5 4.4), were potentially if not actively political, usually 
in an oligarchical direction. 29 It may not be chance that such groups 
became visible in a period when both polity and society were changing 
fast, since they could evidently provide the support ‘towards lawsuits 
and magistracies’ (Thuc. vm.54.4) which an earlier generation had 
found in kin groups or in locality groups, but their roots lie well back in 
the symposiac culture of the Archaic period whose values they tended to 

Socially, then, effective action was transcending the boundaries of 
oikos and locality, and had probably long done so for the better-off 
minority. Economically the same was true. For the peasant whose estate, 
though maybe consisting of scattered plots, lay within the boundaries of 
one deme, deme life corresponded to reality. For those caught in 508 
with property in two or more demes, 30 it did not. Moreover, irrespective 
of whether land in Attica was freely alienable in this period or of whether 
a market in land really existed, 31 the normal workings of inheritance, of 
dowry, and of the occasional public sale of confiscated land by the poletai 
(sellers) in the two generations since 508 can only have reinforced the 
tendency to own property in several demes. By 414 such a pattern of 
ownership had come to predominate in the property holdings (mostly, 
significantly, of the better-off) which were being sold off by the poletai 
after the Hermokopidae and profanation affairs of 41 5. 32 

What is more, other aspects of the economic behaviour of the upper or 
propertied class will have strengthened the process of detachment from 

(1) As is now being belatedly appreciated, the poletai documents of 414 
reveal the ownership of much real property overseas. The processes of 
acquisition are far from clear, since some of the estates concerned are 
much too large to be the kleroi of cleruchs or colonists (nor are they in the 
right places), but the movement must be assumed to have been in train 
from the mid-century on. 33 

(2) The urban growth of Athens and Piraeus in the fifth century must 

29 Calhoun 1913 (d 10); Sartori 1957 (d 84); Connor 1971 (d 16); Aurenche 1974 (d 4); Strauss 
1987 (d 93) ch. 1; Millett 1989 (l ioia). 30 Whitehead 1986 (d 108) 7 5 f. 

31 Fine 1951 (l 35); Finley 1953 (l 37); Cassola 1965 (l 22); Bourriot 1976 (l 12), 727 ff. 

32 M-L 79: IG i 3 421-30: Lewis 1966(0 51). 33 Davies 1981 (l 30) 55-60. 

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have accommodated freedmen, slaves and foreigners at least as much as 
citizens. The resultant demand for accommodation from those who 
could not legally buy or own real property provoked investment in 
landlord-owned synoikiai (multiple dwellings), built inevitably where the 
demand was and not where the landlord’s deme was, as well as 
investment in the new-style standard ‘estate’ houses of Piraeus which 
may or may not have been owner-occupied. 34 

(3) Of other forms of land exploitation, quarries seem to have remained 
a matter of small-scale concern and local ownership, but the silver mines 
at Laurium presented a very different picture. However imperfectly the 
rate of coining reflected the rate of extraction of ore, and however 
obscure the routes by which the investment in land, labour and 
installations was recouped by individuals, nevertheless the epigraphic 
documentation from 367/6 onwards confirms the meagre fifth-century 
evidence in requiring the inference that citizens from all over Attica who 
had capital to spare came to own land or installations in the mining 
area. 35 

(4) Lastly, and notwithstanding Thucydides’ statement that in 43 1 most 
Athenians lived in the countryside (11.14.2), there seems to have been a 
clear tendency among politicians and the wealthy towards the acqui- 
sition of a town house 36 for obvious reasons of convenience. 

To some extent such transformations, occurring within a settled, 
hitherto village-based agrarian society, were part of a long-term evolu- 
tionary process not confined to Greece or indeed to the Mediterranean 
seaboard. What multiplied their effect and their visibility was demo- 
graphic change and change in the pattern of settlement. They were 
independently generated, the latter above all by military requirements 
and by the consequences of successful empire-building, but they 
interacted with the changes already sketched ever more extensively from 
the early fifth century onwards. The first of these inputs was population 
growth, where the fact is clear enough but the figures remain opaque and 
controversial in spite of much recent work. 37 It will be best simply to 

34 Graham 1966 (1 71); Thompson and Wycherley 1972 (1 166) 173-85; Davies 1981 (l 30) 5 1 n. 
25; Hoepfner and Schwandner 1986 (1 77): Pesando 1987 (l i i 5 a ). 

35 Momigliano 1932 (l 102) (fiscal arrangements); Crosby 1950 (c 127); Hopper 1953 (l 69); 
Crosby 1957 (c 128); Mosse 1962 (d 60) 85—96; Hopper 1968 (l 70); LaufFer 1979 (l 93); Osborne 
1985 (l 106) 103-26. 

36 Davies 1981 (l 30) 5 3—5 . Add, for the fifth century, houses of Callias III of Alopece in Piraeus 
and Mclite (Davies 1971 (l 27) 260), of Ischomachus in the city, with an estate in the country (Xen. 
Oec. 1 1.14ft), and of Themistocles of Phrearrhioi in Melite (Plut. Them. 22.2). 

37 Basic thread of debate in Gomme 193 3 (a 48); Gomme, HCT 1 246f; Jones 195 7 (d 40) 161-80; 
Gomme 1959 (a 50); Meiggs 1964 (a 86); Patterson 1981 (d 65) 51—56; Hansen 1986 (a 56); Garnsey 
1988 (l 54) 1 13—17; Sallares 1991 (l 123) 5 1-60. 

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state the limits of uncertainty. The two fixed points for our purposes are 
508/7 and 431. In and after the former year the adult male citizen 
population, having probably suffered both diminution and supplemen- 
tation, seems to have been reckoned at the time as being of the order of 

30.000. 38 What multiplier is then applied to yield a total head count 
within citizen families is debated: a multiplier of three would yield 

90.000, of four 120,000. To that figure — already implying a high 
population per arable km 2 — it would be imprudent to add substantially, 
since such free non-citizens as were resident in Attica in 508 may have 
been largely incorporated in the citizen body as neopolitai , 39 and since the 
then slave population cannot even be guessed at. 

Two generations later, in spring 431, Pericles was made by Thucy- 
dides to claim that Athens had available 13,000 (citizen) hoplites of 
military age, an unspecified number ‘in the garrisons’ and a further 

16.000 as a reserve force of ‘oldest and youngest’ and such metics 
(resident aliens) as were hoplites (11. 13.6-7). Since we hear of 3,000 
metic hoplites later the same year (n.31.2), and since there were also 

1.000 (citizen) cavalry (11.13.8; Ar. Ach. 225) besides the 200 horse- 
archers and 1 ,600 archers ( who may not all have been citizens), on these 
figures there were at an absolute minimum 27,000 adult male citizens 
who were of military age (18-59) and of hoplite status or above in 43 1. 
However interpreted or emended, such figures are incompatible with a 
static citizen population, even if we note a later reference to an ambition 
to ‘heavy-arm the thetes’, presumably via cleruchic land-assignments 
(Antiphon f 61). Short of emendation or of forced interpretation of the 
texts, we must assume a steep rise in citizen numbers since 508/7. Such 
indirect or qualitative evidence as there is for the fifth century confirms 
the assumption. 

What may matter even more is the size of the non-citizen population. 
If many or most metics were migrants escaping from landless poverty on 
Aegean islands and elsewhere, behind the 3 ,000 or more who had hoplite 
status in 43 1 will have stood at least enough to equal or exceed the 1 0,000 
known from 3 17. 40 Likewise, when Xenophon implies that before the 
Spartan occupation of Decelea in 4 1 3 there were over 1 0,000 slaves in the 
silver mines {Vect. iv.24-5), other more specific numbers (iv.14— 1 5) give 
substance to his suspiciously round figure, as does Thucydides’ figure 
(vn.27.5) of 20,000 for those who deserted, probably in 413 itself after 
the Spartan occupation of Decelea. To seek further precision on slave 
numbers in the mid-fifth century is futile, since the degree to which 

38 Mciggs 1964 (a 86), based on Hdt. v-97-2 and vm.65.4. Doubts in Hansen 1986 (a 56) 26. 

39 Whitehead 1977 (l 141) 145-7; Davies *977-8 (l 29); CAH iv 2 304. 

40 Whitehead 1977 (l 141) 97f; Duncan-Jones 1980 (a 50); Hansen 1981 (a 55) 25. 

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Athens was or became a slave society is again best examined from within 
a later chronological period. 41 Nevertheless, we are left with an impres- 
sion (it is no more) of a massive and rapid increase in the total population 
of Attica, largely due to immigration whether forcible or voluntary. 
Directly or indirectly, the process had far-reaching consequences, which 
can only be sketched here. 

First and simplest, and in increasingly pointed contrast to Sparta, 
there crystallized an atmosphere of openness and of receptivity to 
foreign influences. It was perceptible as much in language ([Xen.] 
Ath. Pol. 2.8), or in cult, as reflected by the importation and semi- 
naturalization of foreign gods, 42 as in the taste for imported foodstuffs 
and manufactured goods which the comic poets caricatured but illumi- 
nated. 43 Thucydides could make Athenian openness into a motif of the 
Funeral Speech (n.39.1), not unjustly, for the fifth-century Athenian 
source material shows very little trace of xenophobia. 

A second consequence was the urbanization of Athens and of Piraeus. 
The two developments were separate but parallel, contemporary and 
interdependent, each combining a deliberate act of planned creation with 
the cumulative effect of thousands of individual decisions. At Athens the 
deliberate act was the building of the Themistoclean wall in winter 
479/8 44 for military and political reasons. Once created, albeit as 
Fluchtburg, the circuit became the locus of two processes, (a) infill 
between the closely adjacent nuclei of the existing villages wholly or 
partly enclosed within it (Kydathenaion, Melite, Boutadai, Skamboni- 
dai, Kollytos and Kerameis) (see p. 207, Fig. 24), and (b) the more 
intensive use of existing housing stock. 45 Though there were still vacant 
parts of the city in 43 1, they could not accommodate all the then country 
population (Thuc. 11.17.1 and 3): we must assume that most of the 
intramural area had been developed, if only as a barrio. 

Likewise at Piraeus the planned act is datable, the organic process not 
so. The latter had already yielded a substantial settlement by 508 if its 
likely later quota of councillors (8) reflects Cleisthenic circumstances, so 
that its fortification by Themistocles, in 493/2 and very soon after 479 
(Thuc. 1.93.3—8), and initial layout ( IG i 3 1 101-15) were far from being 

41 From the rapidly moving bibliography a basic orientation relevant to the present period in 
Ehrenberg 195 1 (l 34) 165-91; Jones 1957 (d 40) 10-17, 76-9; Finley 1960 (l 38); Mosse 1962 (d 60) 
179—215; Vidal-Naquet and Carriere-Hergavault in l 23; Jameson 1977-8 (l 80); Mosse and 
Mactoux in l 24; Brockmeyer 1979 (l 17) iojff; Garlan et al . in l 5 2; Finley 1980 (a 42) 67ff, 93IT; de 
Ste Croix 1981 (a 109) 133—74; Wiedemann 1981 (l 143); Finley 1982 (l 42); Wood 1983 (l 146); 
Osborne 1985 (l 106) in; Hansen 1986 (a 56) 30?; Wood 1988 (l 147); Garlan 1988 (l 50). 

42 Notably Bendis ( IG i 3 136), Isis, and the various cults attested in the silver-mining area. 
Ehrenberg 1951 (l 34) 268-70; Nilsson 1967 (k 69) 831-9; Lauffer 1979 (l 93). 

43 Hermippos f 63 K-A; Ehrenberg 195 r (l 34) 136-40. 

44 Thuc. 1.89.3—93.6; Boersma 1970 (1 23) 44-6, 154 no. 7; Lawrence 1979 (1 96) passim. 

45 Pritchett 1956 (c 156) 268 ( synoikiai ); Kolb 1984 (1 93) 77ff; Roberts 1984 (a 106) 1 7ff. 

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ex nihilo. The difficulty lies in dating the various subsequent plannings 
and public works in the port and in blending them with Hippodamus’ 
career, so that at present little but a general picture of demographic 
consolidation in the mid-century can be inferred. 46 

A third consequence was the evolution of ‘metic’ status and the 
redefinition of citizen status, processes which were certainly linked in 
time and political climate. The fixed point has to be Pericles’ citizenship 
law of 451/0, which provided that any man who was not born of citizen 
father and mother should not participate in the city ( Ath . Pol. 26. 4). 47 If 
we leave aside consequential problems of detail, such as the subsequent 
status of bastards or the practical difficulty of defining a citizen woman in 
the absence of any formal process of recognition within the deme, 48 the 
main debate has been whether the law was directed (1) against the 
foreign wives of aristocrats such as Cimon, or (2) more broadly against 
the rapid enlargement of the citizen body as demes adlected (corruptly or 
otherwise) the sons of Athenian women by non-Athenian men, or (3) 
more broadly still against the usurpation of citizen privileges by non- 
Athenian men. Ath. Pol's own explanation (‘because of the number of 
the citizens’), for what it is worth, suggests (2) or (3), as does a tradition 
that in 445/4, on the occasion of a distribution of corn gifted by the 
Egyptian king, 4,760 men were convicted as improperly enrolled. 49 So 
too does a consideration of the growing value of citizen status, both 
within and outside Attica, once Ephialtes’ revolution had enhanced 
access to magistracies, courts, command positions, pay for public office 
and windfall distributions. The close parallel is with the gradual 
separation of Roman citizen status from Latin status in the early second 
century b.c., which likewise reflected the growth after the second Punic 
War in the importance and privileges of Roman citizen status within 

The law of 45 1/0 was significant in two further respects. As a public 
enactment it was one of a series of laws and decrees of the Periclean 
period which showed the polity intervening in the affairs of its consti- 
tuent parts. Whether in specifying the powers and duties of individual 

46 Gommc, HCT i 261—70; Martin 195 1 (1 105) 358-61; Bocrsma 1970 (1 23) 37^ 46-50; Martin 
1974 (i 107) 106-10; Kolb 1984 (1 93) i i6ff; Hocpfncr and Schwandner 1986 (1 77); Traill 1986 (d 
98 a) iff (deme-quota); Garland 1987 (l 5 1) 5 8-61. It would help considerably if we knew when the 
local government of the town was taken out of the demesmen’s hands and replaced by a ‘demarch to 
Piraeus’ appointed by the Assembly {Ath. Pol. 54.8), but we do not, and cannot safely infer from the 
creation by the Thirty of ten ‘archontes of Piraeus’ {Ath. Pol. 35.1, 39.6) that the change predated 

47 Whitehead 1977(1. 14 1) 149-5 1, Rhodes 1981 (c 83) 331-4, and Patterson 1981 (065) are now 
the basis for discussion; see also Walters 1983 (l 139), and above, pp. 76-7, 292. 

48 Harrison 1968 (a 59) 61-78; Humphreys 1974 (l 73); MacDowell 1976 (l 97); Rhodes 1978 (l 
120); Walters 1983 (l 139) 316-20; Hansen 1986 (a 56) 73-6. 

49 Philochorus FGrH 328 f 119; Plut. Per. 37.4; Whitehead 1977 (l 14 1) 151. 

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gene , such as the Kerykes and Eumolpidae ( IG i 3 6c) or the Praxiergidae 
( IG i 3 7), or in issuing general rules about what phratries or (as in 45 1/0) 
demes could and could not do, the state was regulating, or transmuting 
into written public form, what had perhaps hitherto been custom and 
practice, and thereby was reaffirming its primacy, or sovereignty if the 
word can be safely used. 50 Secondly, as a statement of political values 
(whether generally agreed or as a product of controversy we do not 
know) the law of 45 1/0 enshrined the Athenian polity’s preference for 
maximizing equality among the members of a clearly defined citizen 
body rather than permitting the emergence of a spectrum of statuses 
with permeable boundaries. It is not far-fetched to see it as a reaffirma- 
tion of the decision of 508/7 not to envisage perioikoi or other kinds of 
isopoliteia within Attica, or even of the Solonian decision not to allow 
Athens to become a society of serfs and serf-masters. 

Given such a reaffirmation, and given the influx which has to be 
presumed, the status of the largely immigrant, free, non-citizen residents 
of Attica was having to be regularized, in ways only patchily visible. 51 
We have again one fixed point, in that the term ‘metic’ was being 
formally used for them before 460 (IG i 3 244c, line 8), possibly in the 470s 
if the Themistoclean measure quoted in Diod. xi.43.3 as giving them tax- 
exemption can be trusted: that its informal use, which goes back into the 
late sixth century, is noticeably frequent in late Aeschylus 52 suggests that 
their growing presence and status was on the current agenda. Since other 
components of the status, e.g. participation in public festivals such as the 
Panathenaea (by 458), the ability to act as choregos at the Lenaea (not 
before 440), liability to infantry service (by 431), or deme-residence 
designation (by 414) are mostly in place by 431 (with the notable 
exception of the metic tax), its crystallization must have been a process of 
the Periclean period. However caustically, one has to admire the 
Athenian polity’s ability to have the best of both worlds, by attracting 
the metics’ skills and manpower while tapping their wealth for public 
benefit and continuing to deny them access to landowning or to the 
political process. 

A fourth and last major consequence of population growth was a 
significant extra pressure on food supply. That the pressure was felt is 
generally agreed, but the responses to it are a matter of much current 
debate. The traditional view has been that, as in the fourth century, so a 
fortiori in the fifth century when population levels were higher, much 
grain came to be imported from overseas; that the routes of Athenian 
expansion abroad from the early sixth century (Sigeum) and the early 

50 Philochorus FGrH 328 f 35, with Andre wes 1961 (d i). This is not the place to broach the 
broader debate about the usefulness of the concept of ‘sovereignty*. 

51 Whitehead 1977 (l 141) 140-54. 52 IG i 3 1357; Whitehead 1977 (l 141) 346, 

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fifth century (Lemnos, Imbros, Scyros) through to the developed arche 
(Black Sea, Egypt, Thessaly, Sicily) were directed at least in part to 
controlling first the routes and then the sources of supply; and that every 
effort was made to manipulate the shippers and traders in ways favouring 
Athenian interests. Simultaneously, it is argued, emigration was being 
encouraged, especially of the landless, or little-landed, to Athenian 
colonies and cleruchies. 53 More recently, however, doubt has been cast 
on the calculations purporting to show a large annual gap between the 
likely production of cereals in fifth-century Attica and the likely demand. 
Instead, it is now argued, the demand for imported corn developed only 
in the post-Persian War period, while the increased need was met as 
much by expedients such as (i) the intensification of land use, which used 
all available land including the marginal or iast’ lands ( eschatiai ); (ii) the 
increased use of human or animal fertilizers, irrigation and cereal / pulse / 
legume rotation (or alternation) rather than bare fallowing; (iii) the 
integration of cereal cropping with animal husbandry and arboriculture 
in complex interlocking ways; (iv) the use of all available labour (family, 
slaves, hired hands) to maximize the yield of the market-gardening end 
of primary production; and (v) the adoption of new and more productive 
strains of crops. 54 Since this is currently one of the fastest moving areas 
of ancient historical studies, no statement here can have long-term 
validity. A sensible interim response is to recognize in broad terms that 
the Periclean strategy of retreat behind the Long Walls in 431, so far 
from reflecting a weakened commitment to Attica and its productive 
capacity in the face of readily available imports, placed in jeopardy that 
primary sector of the economy into which much effort, investment and 
innovation had been committed in the previous fifty years. 

The various developments which have just been described impinged 
upon Attica as an entity, and are not best seen at the level of oikos or 
deme. Together with the large nucleus of non-agricultural non-citizen 
workers in the silver-mining area, the two evolving large towns, Athens 
and Piraeus, complementary in function and deliberately linked physi- 
cally since the 450s, represented a new pattern of settlement, superim- 
posed upon the older pattern which had been locally and agriculturally 
determined. At the same time, the growth in non-citizen numbers, 
whether slave or free, had prompted a sharpening of status divisions 

53 Select references to tom munis opinio in Garnsey 1 98 5 (1- 5 3) 62 n. 1 ; also Seager 1 966 (d 86) and 
Reed 1 980 (l i 1 9) (shippers and traders); M-L 49 = 1 C i 3 46.43-6 (colonies, with Andrewes 1 978 (d 
3) undermining Plut. Per. 1 1.6); Brunt 1966 (e i 3) and Gauthier 1973 (e 30) (cleruchies). 

M Ehrenberg 195 1 (l 34) 77-82(1); Lewis 1973 (l 94) 210-1 2 (i); Pecirka 1973 (l 1 1 5) (i); Jameson 
<977-8 (l 80) (iv); Burford Cooper 1977-8 (l 19) (iv); Sartre 1979 (l 125) (i); Foxhall and Forbes 

1982 (l 46) (ii), (iii); Wood 1983 (l 146) (iv); Owens 1983 (l 110) (ii); Garnsey 1985 (l 3 3); Osborne 

1983 (l 106) (i); Halstead 1987 (l 64) (i); Garnsey 1988 (l 54)89-106; Hodkinson 1988 (l 68) (ii), (iii), 
(v); Sallares 1991 (l 123) (i), (ii), (iii), (iv). 

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such that the local or segmental divisions of the citizen body came to be 
secondary to the collective of all ‘Athenian men’. We therefore now need 
to identify a third level. 

It was this wider stage which provided the locus for certain forms of 
purposive economic and social behaviour. That some forms were old- 
established, while others were of recent growth or were still emergent, 
led to tensions which Aristophanes above all was to document in the 
ensuing decades; indeed it is hard to stand back from his portrayal of the 
‘new’ music, the ‘new’ education, etc. far enough to judge how much 
represented a real long-term shift in behaviour or mentalites and how 
much was evanescent froth. It may be clearest to begin with what is 
palpable innovation, and then to try to measure its impact on existing 
patterns of action. 

Three economic innovations stand out: the market, the new types of 
capital accumulation, and the escalation of the public economy. The 
formative stages of the emergence of the market have already been traced 
in general Greek terms (above, p. 42). How far it had by now advanced in 
Periclean Athens is debatable, for we lack evidence which could help, 
such as a dated sequence through the fifth century of quantified min tings 
of small denomination Athenian coinage, and have instead evidence 
which helps less than it should. Plutarch’s report that Pericles sold the 
yearly produce of his estates in bulk and bought what was needed from 
the Agora (Plut. Per. 16.4) gives no hint of its credentials, is placed 
within an anachronistic context of ‘just wealth’ and restrained money 
making, and leaves opaque the (to us) primary question whether 
Pericles’ behaviour was typical or avant garde. Likewise, though at 
Piraeus Pericles’ corn-stoa and the layout of the Agora itself 55 must 
reflect market activity, there is notably little fifth-century evidence of 
comparable buildings in or near the Athenian Agora. 56 We are, 
strangely, on safer ground with the evidence from Old Comedy, which 
overwhelmingly depicts a retail market in fully developed form by the 
420s, and which has to be taken at face value even if Aristophanes was 
right in 425 to make Dikaiopolis contrast the hucksters of the Agora 
with the domestic mode of production in his deme: 57 that a special set of 
officials, the ‘market supervisors’, was well established by then is proof 

55 Boersma 1970 (1 25) 74, 213 no. 87; Martin 1974(1 107) 104. 

56 The South Stoa of the late fifth century (Boersma 1970 (1 23) 89^ 219 no. 97) is the first likely 
candidate, but the credentials of its commercial use are uncertain (Thompson and Wycherley 1972 (1 
166) 76 n. 216). General survey of theskimpy evidence, ibid. 170-3, with Ussher’s note on Ar. Heel. 
686. Nothing relevant can be safely predicated of earlier buildings of uncertain character (e.g. 
Boersma 1970 (1 23) 226-32 nos. 109—20), and other fifth-century stoas (of the Herms; Poikile; 
Basileios) had political-administrative, not commercial, uses. 

57 Ar. Aeh. 33-6; but is this economic reality or literary topos ? Cf. Ehrenberg 1951 (l 34) 1 1 3—20 
for the general picture. 

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enough. 58 The least that can be said is that by the 420s, if not several 
decades earlier, increased purchasing power, urbanization, and the 
growth of an under-class without access to landownership (though not 
without access to land-leasing 59 ) had generated a significant retail market 

The second area of economic innovation, capital accumulation, can be 
sketched more briefly, for its newer forms (banks, bottomry loans) have 
been noticed already (above, p. 24), and its older forms (hoards; interest- 
bearing loans; 60 and interest-free loans ( eranoi ) allowing the small cash 
resources of individuals to be pooled for a single larger-scale demand) 
were well established by the Periclean period. The problem is to decide 
what such ways of putting private capital to work amount to. The fact of 
their development makes Athenian society capitalist only in the minimal 
structural sense that certain customs and institutions would not have 
functioned unless capital sums could be assembled — up to 2,000—3,000 
drachmae for a dowry in high society or for a bottomry loan. These are 
large sums even for an economy which was generating its millionaire 
equivalents and into which the Laurium mines were injecting new 
bullion at a substantial rate. Yet they were all assemblages for one 
occasion or one enterprise rather than for enterprises of indefinite 
duration, for repeated activity, expected to deliver a periodic dividend to 
shareholders, of which there is no trace now or later in Athenian society. 
Likewise, in the motivational sense, the profit-seeking deployment of 
capital was a palpable fact, ranging from the small-time loan shark to the 
nabobs who bought slaves and set them to work in the silver mines in the 
expectation of a steady income from their apophorai . 61 It was certainly not 
they whose ideas lay behind Aristotle’s principled disapproval of 
unlimited money-making in Politics 1. Here as elsewhere we must accept 
that the same society encapsulated incompatible value-systems within 
itself. There did not have to be a single predominant pattern, and the 
rapidly shifting society of mid-fifth century Athens is precisely the 
wrong place to find such a pattern. 

There remains the public economy. The title of August Bockh’s 
Staatsbausbaltung der Athener notwithstanding, there is debate whether 
‘public economy’ is the right phrase, for it could be taken to imply that 
both in analytic terms and in terms of contemporary perceptions there 
were clear divisions between ‘community’ and ‘polity’, or between 

M For the agoranomoi , Ath. Pol . 5 1.1, with Rhodes ad loc. 

59 IG i 3 252 (lease); IG i 3 422.200, 213 ( misthosis ); Lys. vn.4— 10 (metics leasing land); IG 11 2 10 
(metic georgoi). In general Osborne 1988 (l 109). 

60 Note M-L 5 3 = IG i 3 248 for (not quite certainly interest-bearing) loans by a deme (Rhamnous) 
to individuals in the 440s; IG i 3 258, with Behrend 1970 (l 3). 

61 References to loan -sharks (tf^/w/a/tf/) in Ehrenberg 1951 (l 34) 23 3; to apophorai in Andoc. 1.38 
and Xen. Vect. iv.14-1 5. In general Thompson 1982 (l i 33). 

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‘society’ and ‘the state’, but it is not transparent that fifth-century Athens 
knew such distinctions. The idea structure was rather that all citizens 
were basically shareholders in a company - oi p.eTex ovre s tt)s noXiTelas, 
‘those who have a share of the polity’. 62 The argument whether all had an 
equal share or held shares proportional to their merits (wealth, strength, 
military capability or whatever) served indeed to differentiate egalitarian 
from selectivist views of the community, and was to resurface violently 
in 41 1, but the four Solonian tele (not quite ‘property-classes’) were a 
long-established way of bridging the divergence by encapsulating the 
principle ‘from each according to his means’. Hence not only did 
differential obligations derive from differentiated resources, but also 
their performance (as also that of the specialized subset, liturgies) was an 
honour, not a tax or a statutory requirement imposed by ‘the state’ as a 
conceptually separate entity: that the political entity which we call 
‘Athens’ was called in Greek ‘the Athenians’ is not chance. Given that 
essential principle, it was only those outside the polity, who had no share 
in it, who needed to differentiate between society and the polity; those 
within shared in good things (distributions of silver or of corn, for 
example), in power, in obligations, and in catastrophes alike. 

It is this value-structure which makes it so hard to decide which 
activities and transactions count as part of the ‘public economy’, for even 
payments to jurors or to magistrates could be seen as the (re)distribution 
to shareholders of some of the income of community activity. So too, at 
the extreme, could the gains of empire be thus seen, ranging as they did 
from the territories overseas which became cleruchic land assignments 
to the monies accruing via tribute and booty which ultimately became 
Athene’s property and were either used on prestige display projects 
(especially the temples) or kept as a massive reserve. Even if we cannot 
take as contemporary or reliable the framework of debate on these 
monies which is presented in Plutarch’s 'Pericles , 63 ‘economy’ and ‘public 
economy’ appear to be as much welded together conceptually in the 
phrase emmisthos polls (‘the whole city in receipt of public pay’) as they are 
inseparable operationally when we try to assess the multiplier effect 
deriving from the influx of these monies. Paradoxically, the conceptual 
separation which was perceived lay within what we would call the public 
economy, between ‘public monies’ proper ( 8 -rjp, 6 aia ) and ‘sacred monies’ 
(lepa). It may be best to acknowledge that a clear reconstruction of fifth- 
century Athenian thought and practice in this area is not yet to hand. 64 

All the same, a shift both functional and conceptual is unmistakable. 
Functionally, by the 450s if not earlier, the scale of monies passing 

62 Patterson 1981 (l i 13), quoting Atb.Pol. 26.3 and Thuc.11.40. 2. 

63 Plut. Per. 12, with Andrewes 1978 (d 3). 

M Cf. meanwhile Lewis 1990 (a 77A). The word ootos, itself fifth-century official Attic ( 1 G i 3 
52.16, 253.13), provides yet a further category. 

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through the hands of the administrators of collective bodies, from 
hellenotamiai to demarchs, had become such as to rupture any sense of 
continuity with household management: genuine taxes, with tax-farmers 
to match, had proliferated by the 420s, 65 and publicity, audit, accountabi- 
lity, new and larger management groups, and fierce penalties for 
defalcation had become the norm. 66 Conceptually, too, the language 
about public revenues attributed to Pericles in spring 43 1 (Thuc. n. 1 3.3) 
reveals the shift completed, while most scholars agree that by then the 
Athenian citizen hoplite soldiers had followed their poorer counterparts 
in the fleet by no longer serving by property class from their own 
resources (albeit with a ration allowance) but instead by being assimi- 
lated to mercenaries in their relationship to the state as paymaster. 67 

Lastly, social innovations, which are if anything even more elusive: at 
least three, however, are salient, clearly influencing action and discourse 
at the political level. First, for all citizens and many non-citizens, there 
was more opportunity for participating in large crowd activity. Festivals 
such as the Dionysia or the Panathenaea which provided spectacle, 
colour, drama and mass participation gained ground and new resources; 
juries, the Council of Five Hundred, and above all the Assembly itself 
daily and visibly reinforced awareness of the existence and cohesion of 
the collective of ‘all Athenians’, to the point where those who chose not 
to participate became thereby, and paradoxically, exposed. 68 Secondly, 
the skills needed in order to command attention and respect in such 
contexts were shifting the nature and composition of the political class 
away from the gentlemanly virtues and towards a professionalism in 
oratorical, fiscal and administrative affairs which both increased the gap 
between the politicians and the rest and stimulated the need to bridge it, 
imprimis by self-presentation as ‘friend of the people’. 69 Thirdly, that 
professionalism, together with the sheer impetus of Athenian fiscal and 
military resources, was rendering Athens’ wealthy elite larger, wealthier, 
and more open in recruitment. Indeed, the one single paradox which 
makes Athenian society so hard to encapsulate in a brief description is 
that that elite, outward-looking, ambitious, not fundamentally at logger- 
heads with itself or its common people, and busy through the Periclean 
period in consolidating Athenian domination in the Aegean and beyond, 
co-existed with, and emerged from, a society which remained (like its 
landscape and polity) small-scale, complex, intricate, and embedded in 
agrarian rhythms. 

65 Ar. Ach. 896; Wasps 65 8-9; Peace 850; Ecd. 1007; Plut. Ale. 5; Andoc. 1. 1 3 3-4 for tax-farming. 
Bockh 1886 (l 9) 1 405—14 remains the best systematic treatment. 

66 Recent surveys by Tolbert Roberts 1982 (d 98) and Ober 1989 (d 61) 327^ 

67 Pritchett 1971—85 (a ioi) 1 7-29; Rhodes 1981 (c 83) 306. 

68 Thuc. 11. 40. 2; Carter 1986 (l 20). 

69 Kennedy 1963 (j 57); Connor 1971 (d 16). 

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‘Because of the greatness of our city there is an influx of all things from 
the entire world, with the result that the enjoyment of goods produced at 
home is no more familiar to us than the produce of other men’ (Thuc. 
11.38.2). Pericles could not have spoken these words before the second 
half of the fifth century. The Persian Wars, and especially the Persian 
occupation in 480/79 b.c., had destroyed whatever splendour had made 
Athens attractive to foreigners in the sixth century. 1 The buildings on 
the Acropolis, including the Old Temple of Athena erected under 
Pisistratus and the Old Parthenon, a marble structure to which an earlier 
poros temple may have given way shortly after Marathon, and the 
vibrant archaic sculptures of kouroi and kora 't which archaeologists have 
recovered for us, were no longer visible after the Persian holocaust. With 
the exception of Simonides of Ceos, who briefly returned to Athens 
about the time of Marathon, and of Pindar, who is said to have received 
some training in Athens late in the sixth century and celebrated the 
Pythian victory won by the Alcmaeonid Megacles shortly after his 
ostracism in 486 {Pjtb. vn), 2 we know of no literary or intellectual figure 
whose visit is recorded. There was no interruption in the production of 
tragedy at the City Dionysia, and comedy was added in 486; whether they 
lured a significant number of foreign visitors to Athens we do not know. 
The Panathenaic festival, however, is likely to have continued to attract 
some competitors and visitors from abroad, 3 and there was no break in 
the manufacture and painting of Attic vases, whose superb craftsman- 
ship and artistry guaranteed continued export, especially to Etruria. 4 

The victories at Salamis and Mycale had raised the prestige of Athens 
to equal that of Sparta among the Greeks. Yet it was not until the 
successes of the Delian League under Cimon’s leadership in the 460s that 

1 Thompson 1981 (d 95) 343— 55, esp. 344-5- 2 See Lesky 1966 (j 65) 184-5 ant ^ 190-1* 

3 The evidence needs to be treated with caution since it comes exclusively from the spread of the 
so-called ‘Panathenaic’ amphorae, whose production continued without major disruptions after the 
sixth century; see especially Gardiner 19 12(1 66 a) 179-93, esp. 184-7; Amyx 1958 (1 ia) 1 78-86, esp. 
180-3; Boardman 1974(1 16) 167-77. 4 Webster 1972 (1 177) 286-95. 


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political prominence laid the foundation for a new cultural resurgence, 
and it was not until the treasury of the League was transferred from 
Delos to Athens in 454 that, with the beginning ofimperial rule, Athens 
became the focal point of cultural activity in the Hellenic world. 

The groundwork for this had been laid by Themistocles’ creation of 
the Athenian navy and of Piraeus as its harbour in the late 480s. Though 
primarily motivated by military considerations, these achievements 
could not fail to have a stimulating effect on the development of trade. 
According to Diodorus (xi.43.3), 

he persuaded the people to construct each year twenty new triremes to add to the 
fleet, and to grant metics and skilled craftsmen tax exemption, so that large 
numbers should come to the city from overseas from all quarters and provide a 
handy supply of more skills; for he judged both these policies to be conducive to 
building up a sea power. 

Although the historical accuracy of some of these statements is open to 
doubt, 5 there can be no question that Themistocles’ naval policy opened 
the gates to many foreigners who knew that there would be a place for 
them not only in the construction of the fleet but also in the reconstruc- 
tion of Athens after the Persians had left. That they were made to feel 
welcome is attested by friendly references to metics in the plays of 
Aeschylus. 6 Few obstacles seem to have been put in the way of their 
settlement in Athens, if our evidence, which comes mainly from the 
fourth century, can be taken as a guide to their status in the fifth. They 
had to pay a special tax, the metoikion, they needed a prostates to represent 
them at law, they did not have the right to hold magistracies and attend 
meetings of Council and Assembly, and they could not acquire land or 
houses without special privilege. But they enjoyed the protection of the 
law and could engage in lucrative activities such as manufacture and 
industry, commerce and banking, and they freely mingled with all layers 
of Athenian society. 7 

When the one-sixtieth part of the tribute paid by the allies went no 
longer to Delian Apollo but to Athena, the influx of foreigners and with 
it Athenian prosperity will have increased still further. Evidence for this 
may be seen in the enactment of Pericles’ citizenship law of 45 1 /o b.c., 
only a few years after the transfer of the League treasury from Delos to 
Athens, which henceforth reserved citizen rights to offspring of two 
Athenian parents. 8 Whatever its purpose may have been, this law would 
not have been enacted if the influx of metics had not been regarded as 

5 See Whitehead 1977 (l 14 i) 148-9. 6 Whitehead 1977 (l 14 i) 55-6. 

7 Whitehead 1977 (l T41) 148—59; Austin and Vidal-Naquet 1977 (L4) 99— tor; Levy 1987 (l 93A) 

8 Arist. Ath. Pol. 26.4; Plut. Per. 37.2-5; Ael. VH, Suda s.v. 677/107701.77 rdv. For a full 
discussion, see Patterson 1981 (l i 13); cf. also Walters 1983 (l 139) 314-36. 

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constituting a significant threat to the rights of Athenians (see above, 
pp. 299-300). The measure did not, however, affect the right of for- 
eigners to reside in Athens, and it did not appreciably stem further 
immigration. Absolute numbers cannot be computed, but if we can trust 
the Old Oligarch (1.12) their numbers were large and they enjoyed the 
same freedoms as did native Athenians. According to recent calculations 
they constituted about 40 per cent of the free population of Athens at the 
outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, 9 which may have been close to fifty 
thousand men, women and children. This ratio is corroborated for the 
period 409—405 by the accounts of the construction of the Erechtheum, 
which shows that metics contributed about 3 9 per cent to the workforce, 
while citizens contributed only 24 per cent and slaves 19 per cent. 10 Less 
indicative of specific numbers, but, nevertheless, attesting that they were 
considerable, are two occasions, one toward the end of the Peloponne- 
sian War and the other soon thereafter, on which metics are said to have 
been enticed by the promise of citizenship to fight alongside Athenian 
citizens. The first of these was before the battle of Arginusae, the other 
when Thrasybulus rallied some nine hundred of them to his side against 
the Thirty, promising them isoteleia (taxation equal to that of an Athenian 
citizen) and trying unsuccessfully to obtain citizen rights for them after 
his victory. 1 1 However liberally they were treated in social and economic 
matters, access to political life was made difficult for them. 

Since metics were barred from ownership of land, trade, commerce 
and industry were the main occupations in which they engaged. Again, 
most of our evidence comes from the fourth century, 12 but for the fifth 
century the Erechtheum accounts inform us that metics worked as 
sculptors in stone, woodcarvers, carpenters, sawyers, joiners, painters, 
gilders, and as unskilled labourers, while we learn from the decree of 
401/0, which rewarded foreigners who had helped liberate Athens from 
the Thirty (IG 11 2 iob), that there were among them several farmers, a 
cook, a carpenter, a muleteer, a builder, a gardener, an ass driver, an oil 
merchant, a nut seller, a bath maker (?), a baker, a fuller, hired workers, a 
statuette maker, etc. As far as industrialists are concerned, we know most 
about Cephalus, who was enticed by Pericles to leave his native Syracuse 
for Athens. He lived there peacefully for thirty years and grew prosper- 
ous from a shield factory which employed 120 slaves (Lys. 11.4, 19). The 
respect he commanded and his high standing in Athenian society are 
vividly portrayed at the opening of Plato’s Republic, where he is host in 

9 Duncan-Jones 1980 (l 33) 10 1-9. More cautious and agnostic about numbers is Hansen 1981 (a 
55) 19-32, esp. 23-4. 

10 IG i 3 474-9 as interpreted by Randall 1953 (l 1 18) 199-210, esp. 201-3. 

11 Xen. Hell. 1 6.24, Diod. xni.97.1; Xen. Hell. 11.4.25 and Arist. Atb. Pol. 40.2 with Osborne 
1982 (d 63) 26-43. 

12 See Whitehead 1977(1. 141) 1 16-21, and Levy 1987(1. 9 3 a) 55-60. 

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his home in the Piraeus to Plato’s brothers Glaucon and Adeimantus, 
members of an old aristocratic family, to Cleitophon who was to become 
prominent in Athenian politics on the side of Theramenes, to the Sophist 
Thrasymachus of Chalcedon, and of course to Socrates. 13 

The career of Cephalus’ son Lysias illustrates how far a metic could be 
involved in the social and cultural life of Athens, and even in its political 
life — short of becoming a citizen, even though he may have enjoyed 
Athenian citizenship for a brief span after the overthrow of the Thirty. 14 
Not only did he write forensic speeches, many on political issues, to be 
delivered by Athenian clients in law courts which, as a metic, he could 
not address in person, but he actively supported the opponents of the 
Thirty from his refuge in Megara by supplying them with money, 
weapons and men. Of his extant speeches only his prosecution of 
Eratosthenes (xii) seems to have been delivered by Lysias himself, and 
that during the brief period in which he enjoyed citizen rights. 

Other instances of participation by metics and foreigners on the 
fringes of political life in Athens are less constructive. According to 
Thucydides (vi.28.1), metics figured prominently in denouncing partici- 
pants in the desecrations on the eve of the Sicilian Expedition in 4 1 5 , and 
there is evidence that at least four rich and well-connected aliens were 
implicated in the parodies of the Mysteries at that time. 15 Some political 
assassinations are attributed to foreigners: if the story is true that 
Ephialtes was killed by Aristodicus of Tanagra, we are almost certainly 
dealing with a hired killer; 16 this is not likely to have been the case with 
the men credited with the murder of Phrynichus upon his return from 
the embassy to Sparta in the autumn of 41 1 : the fact that Thrasybulus of 
Calydonia, Apollodorus of Megara, and some others were publicly 
honoured for their deed under the restored democracy shows that they 
were believed to have acted in the best interest of Athens and not for 
personal gain. 17 A further selfless political act in the interest of Athens is 
attributed by Thucydides (vm.92.8) to Thucydides of Pharsalus, a 
proxenos of Athens, who interposed himself between the troops of the 
Four Hundred and their hoplite opponents in the Piraeus in 411/10. 
Evidently, metics and other foreigners were capable of feelings for 
Athens which matched or even surpassed those of many citizens. 

The influences exerted by two known metics on the political life of 

13 The bronze-seller Sosicrates, who is recorded as choregos in comedy for c . 400 without 
patronymic or demotic, may well have been another prominent metic; see Hesp. 40 (1971) 256 (no. 
4) - 

14 The most reliable information on Lysias’ life comes from his speech Against Eratosthenes (xii); 
less reliable, though more detailed, is [Plut.] X orat.: Lysias ( — Mor. 835C-836D). 

15 Teucrus, Cephisodorus, Hephaestodorus and Poulytion; see Aurenche 1974 (d 4) 109-10 and 
1 1 3 * 

16 Arist. Ath. Pol. 25.4, cited by Plut. Per. 10.7-8. Ant. v.68 says that the assassin was never 

found, cf. Diod. XK.77.6. 17 Lys. xm.70-3; Lycurg. Leoc. 1 12; M-L 85 with pp. 262-3. 

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3 IO 


Athens were of a more indirect nature. Anaxagoras of Clazomenae and 
Aspasia of Miletus, both closely associated with Pericles’ personal life, 
are said to have made considerable contributions to his policies. 
Anaxagoras spent at least twenty years (probably the years 456/5-437/6) 
at Athens. 18 What prompted him to move there when he did is difficult to 
surmise, since Athens did not yet have any tradition of philosophical 
activity. Indeed, Anaxagoras is said to have transplanted philosophy 
from Ionia to Athens and the earliest Athenian philosopher, Archelaus, 
is said to have been his pupil. 19 Under what circumstances his close 
relationship with Pericles developed is also unknown. Certain is that it 
existed and that Anaxagoras’ influence on the statesman was believed to 
be so great that political opponents sought to undermine Pericles’ 
authority by prosecuting Anaxagoras for impiety. 20 We are equally ill- 
informed about the circumstances under which Aspasia became Pericles’ 
mistress in the early 440s. Had she come from Miletus alone in order to 
take up residence in Athens or had Pericles brought her there? If the 
former, what had attracted her to Athens? We cannot answer these 
intriguing questions. Her political influence on Pericles is attested 
primarily by Plutarch (Per. 24, 25.1), who makes her responsible for 
Athens’ siding with Miletus against Samos in 441, and it is parodied by 
Aristophanes’ account of the cause of the Peloponnesian War ( Ach . 5 26- 
3 2). It is also indicated by the tradition that, as in the case of Anaxagoras, 
Pericles’ political enemies veiled an attack on him by prosecuting her for 
impiety (Plut. Per. 32.1, 5). 

The number of transient visitors from abroad attracted to Athens 
during the heyday of empire will have been greater than that of foreign 
residents. The arrangements for the payment of tribute alone will have 
brought many allies to the city, especially at the time of the Great 
Panathenaic festival when the amount of tribute would normally be 
assessed, and at the annual celebration of the City Dionysia in late 
March— early April when it was collected and, according to Isocrates 
(vm.82), publicly displayed in the theatre. 21 The occasions were well 
chosen for their propaganda value: great throngs of foreigners came to 
Athens to attend the games and recitations of the Panathenaea and the 
performances of tragedy and comedy at the City Dionysia (see above, 
p. 261). There was also other business which brought foreigners to 
Athens throughout the year: the Athenians had reserved to themselves 
jurisdiction in many cases involving their subject allies, compelling them 

18 Mansfeld 1979 (j 76) 39 — 69 and 1980 (j 76) 17-95. 

19 Anaxagoras 59 a 7 (D-K). 20 Mansfeld 1980 (j 76) 76-84. 

21 For the assessment, see [Xen.j Alb. Pol. 3.5; M— L 69 with commentary; for the collection, see 
Ar. Ach . 504-6 with scholion on 504; M— L 46 and 68. In general, see Meiggs 1972 (e 5 3) 234-5 4, esp. 
237 and 240, and Will 1972 (a i 26) 181-3. 

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to present themselves for trials in Athens. The economic effects of this 
are summed up by the Old Oligarch (1.17-18): 

Further, the Athenian people derive the following profit from the fact that trials 
for allies are held in Athens. In the first place, the revenue from the 1 per cent tax 
in the Piraeus increases; secondly, if anyone has lodgings to let he will do better; 
so will anyone who can let a team or a slave for pay; also town criers are better off 
for visits from the allies. In addition, if the allies did not come for their trials they 
would show respect only to those Athenians who sail out to them, generals, 
trierarchs and ambassadors. But as it is, each individual ally is compelled to be 
deferential to the Athenian people, inasmuch as he recognizes that he has come 
to Athens where judicial proceedings are in the hands of none other than the 
people, which is the law at Athens. He is compelled to petition in the courts and 
to grasp the hand of anyone who comes in. So for that reason the allies have 
rather become slaves of the Athenian people. 

Several of the foreign ambassadors who came to the imperial city on 
behalf of their own states found kindred spirits among the Athenians, 
especially among the upper-class intellectuals. We are best informed 
about Gorgias’ embassy to Athens in 427 in order to request help for his 
native Leontini against Syracuse. The influence of this visit is immorta- 
lized by the dialogue which Plato named after him, and, in addition, we 
learn that he gave public performances ( epideixeis ) of his rhetorical skills 
and made some money by instruction to young Athenians. 22 Similarly, 
Prodicus of Ceos is said to have not only impressed the Council with his 
power of speech when he came as an ambassador, but also enriched 
himself by public performances and private instruction (PI. Hp. Ma. 
282c). In the case of Hippias we are told only that he was sent by his 
native Elis on many embassies, especially to Sparta (PI. Hp. Ma. 28iab), 
but that does not exclude the possibility that he also visited Athens in an 
official capacity. His influence there is attested by two Platonic dialogues 
which bear his name and by Xenophon’s report of a discussion in which 
he got involved with Socrates {Mem. iv.4.5-25); his admiration for the 
intellectual life of Athens is eloquently expressed in Plato’s Protagoras 

The most constant and visible impact of transient strangers upon 
Athens, however, has been left by traders who brought to Athens the 
goods of which Pericles boasts in the passage with which we opened this 
section. ‘Whatever delicacies there are,’ says the Old Oligarch (2.7), ‘in 
Sicily or Italy, in Cyprus or Egypt, in Lydia, Pontus, the Peloponnese, or 
any other land, are all concentrated in Athens because of her control of 
the sea.’ Mock-heroic dactyls from a comedy produced by Hermippus in 
the 420s tells us what these delicacies were (fr. 6} K-A): 

22 Diod. x111.5j.1-5, cf. Thuc. ni. 86.3; PI. Hp. Ma. 282b. 

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3 1 2 


from Cyrene sylphium stalks and oxhides, from the Hellespont tunny and salt- 
fish, from Italy salt and ribs of beef . . . Syracuse offers port and cheese . . . from 
Egypt sailcloth and raw materials for ropes, from Syria frankincense. Fair Crete 
sends cypress wood for the gods, Libya plentiful ivory to buy, and Rhodes 
raisins and figs sweet as dreams; from Euboea come pears and big apples; slaves 
from Phrygia, mercenaries from Arcadia. Pagasae provides slaves with or 
without tattoos, and the Paphlagonians dates that come from Zeus and shiny 
almonds . . . Phoenicia supplies the fruit of the date-palm and fine wheat-flour, 
Carthage rugs and cushions of many colours. 

Through her empire and control of the sea the world had indeed come to 
Athens’ doorstep. 


The religious consequences of the ties of common Ionian kinship which 
made the allies willingly acquiesce in Athenian leadership at the 
founding of the Delian League (Thuc. 1.95.5, 96.1) were skilfully 
exploited by Athens after the transfer of the League treasury from Delos 
to Athens in 454 to secure imperial control over the allies. Athena now 
replaced Apollo as recipient of the tribute, which was assessed every 
fourth year at the Great Panathenaea and was annually collected at the 
Great (or City) Dionysia (see above, p. 261). Sanctuaries to ‘Athena 
mistress of Athens’ (. Athena Atherton medeousa ) appear in Samos, Cos, 
Chalcis and probably Colophon as an affirmation of both kinship and 
dependence, and a shrine to the sons of Ion ‘from Athens’ as the 
eponymous progenitors of the four Ionian tribes is found in Samos. 23 
Participation in the religious aspects of the celebration of the two great 
festivals is expected of the allies. After their revolt had been crushed in 
453/2, the people of Erythrae were obliged to contribute only grain to 
the Great Panathenaea; but six years later, by the time Cleinias proposed 
his decree on the collection of the tribute, all allies were required on pain 
of penalty to despatch a cow and a panoply. 24 The same requirement in 
the decree authorizing the establishment of a colony at Brea c. 445 
implies, and its repetition in Thudippus’ decree of 425/4 makes explicit, 
that this contribution was envisaged as being made by colonists to the 
mother-city: its purpose was, therefore, to tighten the bond between 
Athens and her subject allies. 25 A similar purpose was served by the 
obligation to send a phallus to the celebration of the Dionysia which, 
though it is attested only for the colony at Brea, may well have been 
imposed also in other colonies. 26 

Late in the Archidamian War, the first-fruit offerings ( aparchat ), 

23 Barron 1964 (e 7) 35-48; Meiggs 1972(653)295-6. 24 M-L 40.2-4, and 46.41-3. 

25 M-L 49. 1 1 — 1 2, and 69. 5 5—8. Cf. Schol. Ar. Clouds 586. 

26 M-L 49. 1 2 withHerter 1958 (k 41) 1704. Cf. for the fourth century the decree in S. Accame, La 
lega Ateniese del secolo iv a. C. (Rome, 1941) 250, lines 2-6. 

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offered to Demeter and Persephone at Eleusis by the Athenians ‘accord- 
ing to ancestral custom and the oracle from Delphi’, became obligatory 
also for the allies, and at the same time other Greeks are invited to 
despatch them. 27 Clearly, this constitutes an attempt not only to tie the 
allies more closely to Athens but also to give the Eleusinian cult a 
panhellenic dimension with Athens at the centre. The success of the 
attempt is attested by Isocrates’ report (iv Paneg. 3 1) that first-fruits were 
still being sent to Eleusis by most Greek cities in the fourth century. 

The religious life of Athens was also enriched, spontaneously and less 
fostered by political pressures, by the importation of cults on the part of 
foreign settlers who had made the imperial city their home (see above, 
pp. 261—2). The oldest and best known of these importations is the cult 
of Bendis, a Thracian goddess brought by Thracian settlers into the 
Piraeus. 28 She must have been privately worshipped by Thracian metics 
as early as the Periclean period (Cratinus, fr. 8 5 K— A), but her official 
recognition by the state is not likely to have come until the early days of 
the Peloponnesian War, stimulated perhaps by the attempt of Athens to 
cultivate good relations with the Thracian potentate Sitalces (Thuc. 
11. 29). 29 It will have been about this time that a temple to her was erected 
at Munichia (Xen. Hell. 11.4.11). A festival in her honour in which 
Athenians also participated was inaugurated on the grand scale on which 
we know it from the opening of Plato’s Republic (1, 327a, 328a) with a 
torch-race on horseback and nocturnal festivities about 41 3/1 2. 30 

The cult of Asclepius, on the other hand, does not seem to have come 
to Athens either to satisfy the religious needs of metics from Epidaurus 
or as a result - however remote - of empire. Although because of its late 
arrival we cannot relate the introduction of this cult specifically to the 
plague, its appearance can only have been motivated by the need to cope 
with disease in some form. Like the cult of Bendis, it had its first home in 
Attica in the Piraeus where it was brought from Epidaurus (see above, 
pp. 261—2). About its foundation there, however, less is known than 
about its early history in Athens. We learn from a fourth-century 
inscription ( IG n 2 4960) that in 420/19 a certain ‘Telemachus brought it 
here on a chariot, coming inland from Zea at the time of the Great 
Mysteries, and took it to the Eleusinium, having sent for [the sacred 
image of] the snake from its home in accordance with the oracles.’ The 
‘home’ can only be Epidaurus, the great centre of Asclepian worship in 
the Peloponnese, and the mention of Zea as the point of departure for 
Athens may mean no more than that it had landed there from Epidaurus 

27 M-L 73 with Meiggs 1972 (e 53) 302—4. 

28 For the history of her cult in Athens, seePeiirka 1966(0 15 5) 122—30; for its substance, Nilsson 
1967 (K 69) 853-4. 

29 Nilsson i960 (k 68) 55-80, esp. 67-9; Ferguson 1944 (d 25) 96-104, esp. 98. 

30 1 G i 3 136 with Bingen 1959 (c 1 16) 31-44. According to a scholion to PI. Rep. 327a it was 
celebrated on 19 Thargelion. 

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on its way to Athens. However, since there was an Asclepian sanctuary at 
Zea which enjoyed a greater reputation in the early fourth century than 
its counterpart at Athens, 31 it may well have been established shortly 
before Telemachus brought the cult to Athens. 32 When the Kerykes 
refused to accommodate the god in the Eleusinium, the tragedian 
Sophocles, who was also a priest of the healing Hero Amynos, received 
him in his house, pending the completion of the sanctuary on the south 
slope of the Acropolis in 4 14/ 13. 33 Votive offerings indicate the popular- 
ity of the cult in the late Roman period. 

There must have been other imported cults that were accorded official 
recognition by the state in the fifth century, even though no record of 
them has been preserved. We may infer this from the resistance offered 
by the guardians of the established forms of worship to the newcomers; 
we encountered this phenomenon in the refusal of the Kerykes to give 
Asclepius shelter in the Eleusinium, and it is reflected on a grand scale in 
Euripides’ Bacchae, where the official recognition of the cult of Dionysus 
in Thebes is the issue. 

The state, however, could not inhibit the entrance of private cults into 
Athens from abroad, especially from the east, and could not stamp them 
out by refusing to recognize them. Some such cults as those of Adonis 
and the Mother of the Gods will have been integrated into the religious 
life of Athens well before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. But 
the hardships of war, breeding as they do hopes for personal salvation, 
will have engendered more private cults than memory has preserved. If 
we are to draw inferences from the few of which we know, such as the 
cult of Sabazios, a Phrygian divinity parallel to Dionysus, or the 
mysteries of the Thracian goddess Cotyto, both of whom came to 
Athens in the last third of the fifth century, 34 they found their devotees 
primarily among women, slaves and members of the lower classes. 
Probably they were imported by sailors and other transients milling 
around the Piraeus, not by metics who brought their native forms of 
worship with them. 


The two literary versions of the oath alleged to have been sworn by the 
Greeks before the battle of Plataea bound them not to rebuild any of the 
sanctuaries burned down or laid waste by the Persians but to leave them 

31 The Piraeus sanctuary must be the one in which Plutus is to be cured of his blindness in Ar. 
Plut. 653-747, since it is close to the sea (656). For the sanctuary at Zea, see Kutsch 1913 (k 55) 25-6 
and 36-7, and Wycherley 1978 (1 187) 265. 

32 Possibly between 422 and 420, since in Ar. Wasps 1 22-3 (422 b.c.) Philocleon is sent for a cure 
to the Asclepius sanctuary on Aegina. 

33 IG u 2 4960, Etym. Magn., s.v. Aegiwv, Vita Sophoclis ii, with Kutsch 1913 (k 55) 16—28 and 

Walton 1935 (j 106) 167-89, esp. 170-4. Cf. Wycherley 1978 (1 187) 181—2, and Beschi 1967-8(1 14) 
381—436. 34 Nilsson 1967 (k 69) 835-6; Burkert 1985 (k 16) 178—9. 

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for future generations as a memorial of Persian impiety. 35 Regardless of 
whether this part of the oath is authentic or not, it is true that the temples 
of Attica were left in ruins for a whole generation. No attempt was made 
to rebuild them until the 440s, when the Peace of Callias formally 
terminated hostilities against Persia and when, upon the rejection by the 
rest of the Greek world of an invitation to meet in Athens to deliberate 
about the problem of restoring them, the Athenians at the instigation of 
Pericles decided to embark on an ambitious programme of rebuilding 
their own ruined shrines. 36 This, however, did not mean that the task of 
reconstruction was not taken in hand sooner: there was nothing to 
prevent the rebuilding of secular structures destroyed by the Persians 
and nothing to inhibit the construction of new shrines to gods or heroes. 
Foreign workmen are likely to have been employed in this enterprise 
from its very inception, but the participation of foreign artists is not 
attested until the 460s, when Cimon occupied the centre of the stage in 

Before we come to that, however, it will be convenient to discuss the 
most extensive and most conspicuous renovation of this period. No 
other part of Attica underwent more profound changes in character in 
the wake of the Persian Wars than the Piraeus. Themistocles had 
designated it to replace Phalerum as the main harbour of the city during 
his archonship in 493/2, but its growth not only as a naval base but as a 
crucial commercial centre of the Mediterranean had to await the end of 
the Persian Wars and the establishment of Athenian hegemony among 
the Greeks. To organize it in a manner befitting its new importance, 
Hippodamus of Miletus, the most renowned town planner of antiquity, 
was invited to design it (see above, p. 203). Our determination of when 
the invitation was extended depends on the interpretation we give to the 
phrase ‘about the time of confrontation with the Medes’ (Schol. Ar. 
Knights 327), which may range from soon after the battle of Plataea in 
479/8 to the Peace of Callias in 449; the fact that Hippodamus lived long 
enough to plan the city of Rhodes in 408/7 (Str. xiv.2.9) makes the latter 
the more likely date. According to the most detailed account of 
Hippodamus’ activities which has come down to us (Arist. Pol. 11.8, 
1 267b22-i268ai4), he was not only the inventor of the art of town 
planning, but developed it on a theoretical basis that included well- 
articulated views on the nature of the good society (or ‘best constitu- 
tion’, as Aristotle calls it) and on certain mathematical principles. 37 This 

35 Diod. xi. 29. 3; Lycurg. Lioc. 8i;cf. Isocr. tv Parteg. 155-6; Paus. x.35.2; Cic. Rep. 111.9. 15. The 
clause docs not appear in the epi graphical version in Tod, GHl 11. 204.21-5 1. The genuineness of the 
oath was disputed by Theopompus, FGrH 1 15 f 153; Siewert 1972 (F65) 102-6 believes this clause 
to be a later insertion. 

36 See ch. 8 c above. 

37 Ar. Pol. n.8, 1 267b28 says that he wanted to be ‘an expert on all of nature’; Hsch. and Photius, 
s.v. c / imo 8 vefiTjois, call him a fj.€T€cupoX 6 yos- 

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theoretical penchant is reflected in his design of the Piraeus: he divided it 
into different sectors according to function, providing each sector with a 
rectilinear set of streets arranged in the grid pattern already known in his 
native Asia Minor. Thus, certain areas were reserved for public use and 
others for private, and different public areas were assigned different 
functions: emporium, port, agora, etc., and provided with different 
buildings: club-houses, gateway, etc. In short, he adapted his general 
principles to the local conditions and functions of the Piraeus. 38 

There are further ways in which Hippodamus left a mark on Athens. 
We are told by a late commentator on Aristophanes’ Knights (schol. on 
327) that he settled in the Piraeus and had a house there. Since foreigners 
were barred from the acquisition of real estate, this may mean that he was 
given Athenian citizenship, which is corroborated by the general belief 
that he was the father of the Archeptolemus who was prominent in 
Athenian politics as an advocate of peace with Sparta in the late 420s and 
was condemned to death together with Antiphon as one of the leaders of 
the Four Hundred in 41 1/10. 39 The father fared better than the son. His 
participation in the settlement of Thurii in 444/3, along with other 
luminaries such as Protagoras of Abdera and Herodotus of Halicarnas- 
sus, suggests his active support of Periclean policies and may even 
indicate membership in the Periclean brains-trust; it is virtually certain, 
though not explicitly attested, that the planning of the colony was his 
work. 40 His eccentric appearance, his long flowing hair, his taste for 
expensive ornamentation worn with cheap but warm clothes, which 
served him in both winter and summer (Ar. Pol. 11.8, i26yb2 5-8), may 
have prefigured the attire affected by young Athenian aristocrats in the 

Considering the intensity of the building activity in Athens after the 
Persian Wars and especially after 450, it is astonishing how little we 
know about the architects responsible for their design. Only a few names 
have come down to us, in most cases without indication of their 
provenance; only in the case of Metagenes of Xypete and Xenocles of 
Cholargos, who finished the Telesterium at Eleusis, does the demotic 
give us assurance that they were native Athenians. For the rest, no more 
than the circumstantial evidence that only works in Attica are known to 
have been their design suggests an Athenian origin. 41 But foreigners 

38 See McCredie 1971 (1 99) 95-100. 

39 Ar. Knights 794—5, cf. 327 with schol.; Lys. XII Eratosth. 67; [Plut.] X orat. 833F— 834A. 

40 Hsch. s.v. Inno 8 dfj,ov vc/xijais; Schol. Ar. Knights 327; Diod. xn.10.7. 

4! Only Ictinus is said to have also worked outside Attica, sc. on the temple of Apollo at Bassae: 
see Paus. vin.41.9, where his work on the Parthenon is also mentioned; cf. also Plut. Per. 13.7 and 
Str. ix. 1 2 and 16. He is also credited with beginning the design of the Telesterion at Eleusis (Str. 
ix. 12; Vitr. vii praef. 16), which was continued by Coroebus (Plut. loc. cit. y cf. IG i 3 33, line 26). 
Callicrates was an architect of the Parthenon, constructed the Long Walls connecting Athens with 
the Piraeus (Plut. he. cit.), and designed the Nike temple on the Acropolis (IG i 3 3 5 with Meiggs 1972 
(e 53) 496—503). To Mnesicles only the Propylaea are attributed (Plut. Per. 13.12; Harp. s.v. 

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were called in to help decorate the new buildings with paintings and 
scu Iptures. 

Our knowledge of them depends entirely on literary records which 
have come down to us. 42 Practically no originals of their works have 
survived, although we can occasionally catch a glimpse of them in the 
case of painters in imitations on vase paintings, and in the case of 
sculptors in Roman copies and on coins. The earliest foreign painter on a 
monumental scale of whom we know is at once reputed to be the greatest 
and most seminal. Polygnotus’ migration from his native Thasos to 
Athens is almost certainly related to Cimon’s military successes in the 
northern Aegean in the 470s and 460s, since it cannot be an accident that 
his most important works in Athens were displayed in buildings closely 
associated with Cimon’s exploits. The earliest of these is the shrine built 
to house the bones of Theseus, which Cimon brought back from his 
expedition against Scyros soon after 476/5. It was adorned with at least 
three paintings, one of which, depicting Theseus’ visit to Poseidon and 
Amphitrite on the sea-bed in order to convince Minos that he was 
Poseidon’s son, was the work of the Athenian painter Micon, whose 
work is often associated with that of Polygnotus. The artist of the other 
two paintings, representing Theseus’ participation in the fight against 
the Amazons and in the battle of Lapiths and Centaurs, is not identified 
by Pausanias (1.17.6), but recent research has persuasively established 
that they are the work of Polygnotus. 43 Micon and Polygnotus also 
collaborated on the sanctuary of the Dioscuri (Anaceum), which was 
probably erected in the Cimonian period. Micon’s contribution showed 
the voyage of the Argonauts to the land of the Colchians and Polygno- 
tus’ marriage of the Dioscuri (Paus. 1. 18. 1). What connexion, if any, this 
shrine may have had with Cimon’s achievements is not known. But 
Polygnotus’ most celebrated work at Athens, Troy Taken , was painted 
for a stoa built in Cimon’s honour by his brother-in-law Peisianax. By the 
fourth century, the renown which Polygnotus’ art had given it caused its 
name to be changed from ‘Peisianacteum’ to ‘Painted Stoa’ (Stoa 
Poikile). 44 A close personal bond between Polygnotus and Cimon is 
indicated by the report that unlike Micon, who painted the famous battle 
of Marathon and an Amazonomachy for the Peisianacteum, Polygnotus 
refused to accept pay for his work, in which, we are told, the Trojan 
Laodice was given the features of Cimon’s sister Elpinice, who counted 

FIpo7TvXaia raura). An unnamed Athenian architect is believed to have been responsible for the 
temple of Hephaestus on the Agora, of Poseidon at Sunium, of Ares at Acharnae, and of Nemesis at 
Rhamnous (see Dinsmoor 1950 (1 60) 179-82). But Miles 1981 (1 112) 207 now attributes 
Hephaestus, Poseidon and Nemesis to three different architects. 

42 Conveniently collected in Overbeck 1868 (1 120). 

4i Barron 1972 (1 9) 20-45, who assigns to Polygnotus also a fourth picture in the Theseum, 
representing Theseus’ return from the dead. For Polygnotus’ activity in the Theseum, see Harp s.v. 
/ 7 oAvyva>To? as emended by Valcken. 44 D. L. vu.1.5; Suda s.v. fleiatavaKros aroa. 

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Polygnotus among her numerous lovers (Plut. Cim. 4.6.7). The reward 
for this generosity was the grant of Athenian citizenship. But Polygno- 
tus does not seem to have made much use of it: after Cimon’s death no 
more is heard of his residence in Athens. 45 His work, however, 
continued to exert a profound influence on several Athenian vase 
painters. 46 His departure did not end the relations of his family with 
Athens: a generation later his son or nephew Aglaophon was com- 
missioned by Alcibiades to paint two pictures to celebrate his triumphs 
at the great Games, one showing personifications of the Olympian and 
Pythian Games crowning him, and the other a seated Nemea holding 
him in her lap. 47 

There was at least one other foreign painter whose employment 
brought Alcibiades considerable notoriety. Alcibiades enticed Agathar- 
chus of Samos to come into his house and then confined him in it, despite 
his protests, until he had decorated it with his painting^. 48 Little else is 
known of Agatharchus’ work, except that he is said to haVe been the first 
to paint scenery for the (presumably posthumous) performance of 
Aeschylean tragedy, and to have written a book on the subject which 
stimulated Anaxagoras and Democritus to formulate theories on 
perspective (Vitr. vu.praef. 11). 

The context of an anecdote related by Plutarch (Per. 13.7) suggests 
that Agatharchus also participated in the Periclean building programme 
and that he was a fast and facile worker. He was criticized on that score 
by his contemporary Zeuxis, who had come to Athens as a young man 
from Heraclea (probably the one on the Siris in southern Italy) in the 
430s (PI. Prt. 3